POSTED: May 8th 2012

The Argentine Olympic Committee takes distance from ad controversy

Screen shot from the ad
Screen shot from the ad

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

May 8 – The Argentine National Olympic Committee is stepping back and away from a controversial ad running on domestic television using the British Olympics to drive home their past territorial issues with Great Britain. The Olympics have long been the venue of choice of many political activists looking to find a world level stage to make a point.

However the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is strongly against mixing politics and sport.

IOC head, Dr. Jacques Rogge, spoke out clearly to AFP stating, “It (the advertisement) is against the IOC rules and we don’t want it to be repeated.

“The Argentinian National Olympic Committee (NOC) is in agreement.” 

The ad was made and released by the Argentine government, led by head Cristina Kirchner, and is an attempt to take a jab back at Great Britain over the dispute of the Falklands Islands.

The ad features Argentine field hockey captain Fernando Zylberberg in training for the Games in front of a pub and running by an iconic red British telephone booth and winding up doing step-ups on a war memorial commemorating British sailors who died in the war. Provocatively it ends with the slogan "To compete on English soil, we train on Argentine soil."

Gerardo Werthein, President of the Argentine NOC, said: 

“The Argentine National Olympic Committee is fully committed to the Olympic Charter and the best practices of the Olympic Movement. We strongly believe the Olympic Games are not a platform for politics and we have communicated this position to the International Olympic Committee.
“We, of course, defend an individual’s right to freedom of speech but this cannot interfere with the sporting performance of our team at the forthcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in London. Indeed, the Argentine NOC has made clear that using the Olympic Games to make political gestures of any kind is not acceptable and we will conduct ourselves in the proper spirit of Olympism in all that we do in London and elsewhere.” 

Buenos Aires will host the IOC session next year in September where they will vote the 2020 summer Olympics host city and then chose a new president.

The city is also bidding for the Youth Olympic Games of 2018.

Keywords · London 2012 · Argentina · Falklands Islands · Cristina Kirchner · Gerardo Werthein

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