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Infatuation with Politics and North Korea Overshadows Olympics    



  By: Katie Petrick
   Published : February 13, 2018


As February rolls on, many Americans will be watching the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang.

The action kicked off on Friday, Feb. 9 with the lighting of the torch, but the politics were in full force much earlier. All Games have their political dialogues, but the stakes are ratcheted up for these Games. Athens was not under the threat of terrorist attacks in the form of a nuclear bomb from the northern neighbor. And certainly the hypersensitive, politically correct culture of today had no place in the early Games.

And it still should not have a place. But alas it is 2018 and everything is wretched. While the evening should be one highlighting the athletes of the world during the Parade of Nations and the culture and efforts put forth by the hosting country of South Korea, politics were on display.

And it came in the form of North Korea's second in command, Kim Yo Jong, who became the first member of the Kim regime to cross the 38th parallel since the end of the Korean Conflict in 1953. CNN did not wait 24 hours to fawn over the dictatorial regime of North Korea when the network released an article titled "Kim Jong Un's sister is stealing the show at the Winter Olympics." In the article, the writers state that some unnamed people believe Kim Yo Jong is North Korea's answer to Ivanka Trump, and that she would win the gold if the "diplomatic dance" was an event.



Outside of the international politics, there is politics within. Leading up to the Olympics, the U.S. Olympic Committee began boasting that it was taking its most diverse team to a Winter Games since the United States began participating in the first winter games in 1924 in France.

But just days before the opening ceremony, Jason Thompson, the Olympic Committee's director of diversity and inclusion, stated "We're not quite where we want to be. I think full-on inclusion has always been a priority of Team USA. I think everybody's always felt it should represent every American." The USOC monitors its level of diversity through "diversity scorecards," which are submitted to Congress annually. The reports include the breakdown of diversity in race, gender, and disabilities.

And finally, a political statement would not be complete without getting the kids involved. As part of winter week activities, the student council at Wayland High School in Wayland, Massachusetts voted to watch Cool Runnings, which is Disney's 1993 telling of the real-life story of the Jamaican bobsled team that competed in the 1988 Calgary Olympics. But just hours after the movie was announced, Principal Allyson Mizoguchi canceled the showing because she said the movie "could be viewed as culturally and racially insensitive." Showing the positive and motivating story was just too much for the principal to handle.

The Jamaican story is one that should be shared because it shows how people defy what is possible. Olympic athletes compete against any and all odds. They are Olympians because they aim to achieve excellence. When you begin reducing them and slotting them into your pigeon holes, you denigrate their talents and dedication. And that's not what the Olympics are meant to be.

Good luck and congratulations to all Olympians.

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