A poor spectacle

How sad it is to witness the images of recent days of the Olympic torch being escorted by police guard and protesters ambushing the runners in London and Paris. The torch relay has become a focal point, but for reasons the Olympic movement never intended. The unrest in Tibet has sparked worldwide protests and an apparent hardening in China's position there.

With six months to go before the start of the Games, the Olympic spirit is threatened by politics. Will the torch make it to Beijing? Will the Olympics prove that international sport can bring countries and people together in positive interaction, or will this debacle degenerate?

The International Olympic Committee remains cautiously optimistic that it made the right decision in awarding the Games to Beijing. IOC communications chief Giselle Davies tells the BBC that "history will look back and say the Games were a key part in a rapid and fascinating evolution of a country which is front and centre of the global community...Over the course of the last seven years, there has been enormous change that has taken place in China - some of it thanks to the Olympics. We believe the Games have been more positive than negative over the course of that time."

Let's hope she's right. Peaceful protest is one thing, violence is another.

Here's what the IOC says is the basis of the Olympic spirit's mission: "Building a peaceful and better world...in the Olympic Spirit which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play."

Everyone should decide for themselves what actions should arise out of that ideal in the context of today's world.

BBC: Beijing decision defended by IOC
Olympic Spirit.

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