POSTED: July 17th 2013

Sochi 2014 boycott not leverage but toxic for innocent athletes

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina / US Senate
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina / US Senate

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) US Senator Lindsey Graham (R) from South Carolina has spoken out with USA Olympic rights holder network NBC to suggest that the country should consider boycotting the Sochi 2014 Games if Russia grants intelligence leaker Edward Snowden asylum.

In an effort to hold leverage over Russia the Senator forgets about the innocent athletes on the USA Team who have been in intense training since Vancouver 2010 to participate at the next Winter Games.

Using the Olympics for a political platform is a useless tactic to arm wrestle Russia to give up Snowden and one that will inevitably inflict harm upon ourselves.

"I love the Olympics, but I hate what the Russian government is doing throughout the world," Sen.  Graham, said to NBC News yesterday. "If they give asylum to a person who I believe has committed treason against the United States, that's taking it to a new level."

Graham sustains that Russia is responsible for aiding Iran's nuclear agenda, has threatened Israel and supports Bashar Assad in Syria.

"If you could go back in time, would you have allowed Adolf Hitler to host the Olympics in Germany? To have the propaganda coup of inviting the world into Nazi Germany and putting on a false front?" Graham said to NBC.

Boycotts are not the answer, and when the USA chose not to attend the '80 Games in Moscow over Russia's invasion of Afghanistan, it was only the American athletes who suffered and boomeranged.

USOC Spokesperson Patrick Sandusky said in a statement today: "If there are any lessons to be learned from the American boycott of 1980, it is that Olympic boycotts do not work.

"Our boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games did not contribute to a successful resolution of the underlying conflict. It did, however, deprive hundreds of American athletes, all whom had completely dedicated themselves to representing our nation at the Olympic Games, of the opportunity of a lifetime.

"It also deprived millions of Americans of the opportunity to take pride in the achievements of our athletes, and in their dedication and commitment, at a time when we needed it most.

"While we acknowledge the seriousness of the issues at hand, we strongly oppose the notion that a boycott of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is in our country’s best interests."

House Speaker John Boehner has also supported the USOC stance and has spoken out rejecting the notion.

Keywords · USOC · Sochi 2014 · Lindsey Graham · John Boehner

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