While the Summer and Winter Olympics both serve as a 2 week international competition in various sports to see who reigns supreme, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics were shrouded in political conflict throughout. Tension stirred in response to both participating countries and China itself. Many boycotters believed that the games should have been stripped from the Chinese capitol and hosted elsewhere, as punishment for various wrongdoings of the country over the past few years, particularly citing the mistreatment of Hong Kong and its citizens relating to the desired independence of the administrative region, the genocide of Uyghur Muslims that had been vocally protested worldwide starting in 2020, and the mishandling of the Coronavirus pandemic in early 2020. China responded to the COVID threat ahead of the Olympics by banning foreign spectators and establishing bubbles for athletes, trainers, and media, forcing anyone that enters them into a 21 day quarantine.
One participating country that drew a lot of ire before, during, and after the Olympics was Russia. Leader Vladimir Putin had expressed interest in annexing the country of Ukraine, and had acted upon it as early as 2014, when he forcefully annexed the peninsula of Crimea from the country. Less than 24 hours after the ending ceremony of the Olympics, Putin put troops on the ground at the border of Russia and Crimea. Eventually, on February 24th, Putin announced a “special military operation”, which was codeword for an invasion and declaration of war on Ukraine. President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, enacted martial law in his country, and has mobilized his own troops in response.
It’s become increasingly evident that the Olympics are simply a facade of worldwide get-togetherness. Despite the exciting competitions and events, the 2 weeks of sporting are a small blip of peace in a world of conflict.