The 2030 Winter Olympics should be held in Ukraine! ～The Olympics will not only be a shield to protect the athletes, but also will become a spear to create peace～
International Olympic Committee (IOC) has criticized that the government of Ukraine may impose sanctions on Ukrainian sports federations if they send athletes to competitions involving Russian and Belarusian athletes.
From the point of view of Olympism, this is a natural criticism.
After the IOC had restricted Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, it recommended to the International Federations (IFs) that they be allowed to return to international competition under conditions such as neutrality. In contrast, the Ukrainian government acted “politically.”
The IOC said in a statement that the Ukraine’s intention to sanction Ukraine's sports associations will raise serious questions about the autonomy of sport in Ukraine. "It will only hurt the Ukrainian athletes and the national sports federations, and will have no effect on the war situation," it added.
Whether sports should be placed below or above politics, that is the point Olympism asks.
In normal times, the government behaves as if sport is above politics, and devours the political benefits it brings.
"Olympics create the future" and "Sports are wonderful". But that is premised on the benefits that lie ahead.
In Japan, which has been in a state of confusion due to the corona crisis, the lies of politics that try to behave like sports are above politics have been exposed.
In a situation where they could not foresee the benefits of holding the Olympics, they still could not express their philosophy that the Olympics should be held.
It can't be helped because they didn't originally think so. If it weren't for Corona, they would have enjoyed a peaceful sleep on top of the profits it made.
Unfortunately, the Ukrainian government has also apparently put sports under politics.
It chose to dominate sports, a place where people can work hand in hand across barriers.
This would be equivalent to the Putin administration, which has made no repentance for breaking the Olympic truce.
I would like to recall what IOC President Bach said on March 22nd.
“The IOC cannot be the referee in the world's political conflicts. Olympics must keep the distance from the politics. Otherwise, it loses its centripetal force. If politics decides who will participate in the competitions, sports and athletes will become political tools. As a result, it becomes impossible to build unity in sport."
This attitude has come from Olympism naturally. As long as sports maintain their autonomy as sports, sports transcend politics and create a circle of people, which would lead to harmony in the world.
This idea has so far functioned as a shield to protect sports from politics.
However, that alone puts them under the throne of politics, and as a result, they are in a situation where the conflict dominated by politics cannot be subsided.
That is the result of the war between Russia and Ukraine.
IOC President Bach then took the idea one step further.
"We must be politically neutral, but not politically apathetic.
We understand that our decision has political implications, and we should take that into consideration."
At the time of the Beijing Winter Olympics, democratic groups such as the United States announced a diplomatic boycott.
At that time, Bach took the position that, as long as the Olympics were held and the athletes were able to attend, "politics doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if government officials come to the Olympics or not." What happened as a result?
Since then, I have argued that at a time when democracy and authoritarianism are at odds, we should pay tribute to sports in the arena of sports and gather the world's political leaders. If that had actually been realized "diplomatically", the current war would not have happened.
But at the time, public opinion took it for granted that a diplomatic boycott should be tolerated and sport should be subordinated to politics. What was the result? Putin came, Biden didn't.
Kishida, who could be representing the country which had finally fulfilled its mission to hold the Olympics with overcoming the corona crisis, did not come. The result of looking down on sports is the war in Ukraine.
April 6 was the " International Day of Sport for Development and Peace " established by the United Nations. Bach announced the message sent on that day the day before.
“Sport can open the door to peace in ways that exclusion and division do not.”
What only sports can do is to calmly suppress politics.
Bach said, " Due to the fact that there are unfortunately far too many wars, armed conflicts and crises in this world, we have seen in almost all editions of the Games athletes compete with each other – as a symbol of peace – despite the fact that their nations are at war or in conflict."
We might remember such scenes.
Among them, we could remember when Ukraine's Oleksandr Abramenko won the silver medal and Russia's Ilia Burov won the bronze medal in the freestyle men's aerials at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
At the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, the former won gold and the latter won bronze.
After the competition, Burov hugged Abramenko from behind and congratulated him, praising each other.
The sight of the athletes respecting each other while competing as representatives of their countries spread on social media and reached people around the world.
At this point, Russia has not invaded Ukraine, but if the figures shown by these two men become absolute values, we may be able to see the light for peacebuilding after the war.
Of course, if Olympism be the basis, Putin and Lukashenko will be out of it.
Zelensky is also missing.
But as Bach added, "The IOC should not make the mistake of becoming the judge of political disputes. Otherwise, we will be overwhelmed by political power.” Sport has no choice but to throw away its weapons and tell people to gather at Olympus across all borders.
But isn't this Mutekatsu-ryu (Japanese Samurai method to win the opponents without arms) for the introduction to the method of ending the war?
What can be done to overcome the current situation? I would like to propose that the 2030 Winter Olympics be held in Ukraine.
If you move politics for that purpose, the military will also change.
This means that the IOC will not be a referee for political disputes, but rather a guidepost for politics.
Ukraine has announced its bid to host the Winter Olympics in September 2021.
Zelensky told the IOC directly.
If Sapporo, whose candidacy for the Olympic winter Games 2030 is in jeopardy due to Tokyo Olympics’ corruption scandals, makes efforts to cooperate in realizing that goal, it will be baptized by Olympism and open up new horizons for future hosting the Olympics.
This is the way to revolutionize the current chaotic situation. The time has come for the Olympics to change from a shield to a spear.
April 9, 2023
Yo Aska (Translated by Ryoichi Kasuga）