Leave Politics Out of It

With fewer than 90 days until the Olympic Games commence in China’s capital city of Beijing, the world is holding its breath in anticipation and anxiety. Everybody seems to be concerned in one way or another. Some want to see their favorite athletes compete and win. Others see the games as an opportunity for China to reconcile with Tibet. Unfortunately, students at PA don’t seem to care either way. Are we really so caught up in the Andover bubble that we can’t even think about such a grand international event like the Olympics? Do we not feel the need to understand the controversy of the Olympics being held in Beijing? As such a landmark event for both ?China and the world, it deserves a little bit more attention from everyone, especially ?the Andover community. I remember as a child, I would beg my parents to let me stay up late and watch the Olympic Torch ceremony or to cheer on my country’s athletes in competitions. Every four years I was ecstatic as I got to see the world’s best athletes come together and exert themselves to their limits in the spirit of competition and sportsmanship. This year is no different. In fact, with the Beijing Olympics being so close to my home of Hong Kong, I am more excited than I have ever been. Unfortunately, very few at Andover seem to share my enthusiasm. Iris Li ’08, a resident of Beijing ,knows for a fact that China has been excited ever since they obtained the right to host the Olympic Games in 2001. That excitement has not seemed to carry over to the U.S.; Li observed, “I’ve met a couple kids [in America] who are pretty excited, but in general people don’t really care all that much.” Unfortunately, this is the truth that I have come to find as well at my time here at Phillips Academy. The little news that I do hear about the Olympics while at PA usually concerns China’s controversial relationship with Tibet. Protests against the Olympics have occurred in France, the United Kingdom, and many other countries. According to Li, “Chinese people are rather upset with the Western protest towards the Olympics because the Olympics is the least political thing you could find; that’s why it was created… it shouldn’t be used as a political excuse.” I have to agree with?Iris on this one; having the Olympics in Beijing does not represent communist, pro-China or anti-Tibet sentiments or any other political statement. The Olympic Games are just that: games. There is no reason why people should be protesting athletic competitions being held in the spirit of sportsmanship. Although I am dismayed at the fact that nobody seems to be excited for the Olympics, I am comforted that nobody at PA is actively protesting against them. Now, all we need is for people to look forward to the Games happening in August. Whether you want to see your country win the gold in Archery, Pole Vaulting, Tennis, Softball or Taekwondo, hopefully you will enjoy the competitions just as much as I will. Michael Yoon is a two-year Lower from Hong Kong.