Utah Olympian warns politicians to keep out of athletes’ careers

Dec 14, 2021, 5:22 PM
The logos for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics are seen at an exhibit at a visitors center at the Winter Olympic venues in Yanqing on the outskirts of Beijing, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. The 2022 Beijing Olympics begin this week. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah Olympian said politicians ought to stop messing around with the careers of athletes by using them as political pawns in international disputes.

On Monday, Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, called for a full US boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Games. Meaning Team USA would not travel to China to compete in the Olympics. How do the other D.C. lawmakers from Utah feel about joining Stewart in his full boycott?:

“Rep. Curtis supports a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics and has worked hard to raise awareness to the human rights abuses happening in China. He appreciates the work of Congressman Stewart to also raise awareness to this issue.”

Blake Moore

“I am fully supportive of a diplomatic boycott so our athletes— who have dedicated their entire lives to compete in the Olympics— can go dominate them and make America proud. A diplomatic boycott—with other nations joining—sends the right message, but let’s quit politicizing this. The way we defeat China is to stop getting into more and more debt, ensure our military has what they need to counter their aggressive advances, and find other manufacturing options. I did not train my whole life for this short window of opportunity; the athletes did. Let’s see Old Glory flying high over every venue in Communist China. Go Team USA!” — Rep. Moore


Burgess Owens
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

“Communist China has a long and painful record of genocide, human rights abuses, forced labor, draconian COVID-19 measures, and aggression towards the U.S. and our allies. A full diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics is the least we can do. We should use every tool in our tool chest to send them a strong and unequivocal message: America will not stand by and allow this evil to go unchecked.” — Rep. Burgess Owens


An athlete’s perspective

Utah marathon runner Jared Ward joined KSL NewsRadio’s Dave & Debbie to discuss what it would mean to athletes to miss out on the Olympics next year. He wished athletes’ careers wouldn’t be used as part of political games.

“When you train for four years to prepare for one Olympics, and that Olympics affects your entire career and livelihood as an athlete,” he said. “It’s a big deal when people start using that as a political pawn.”

As a long-distance runner, Ward finished sixth at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. He said that opportunity opened up his career as a marathoner.

“I’d say the Olympic experience in 2016 has given me the runway financially to continue to have a career as a marathon runner, even as my wife and I raised five kids,” he said. “I’m still riding the wave five years later that started for me in Rio.”

Debbie pointed out that Beijing was awarded the 2022 Winter Games by the International Olympic Committee in 2015.

“Perhaps this is more of a conversation to be had seven years ago,” she said.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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Utah Olympian warns politicians to keep out of athletes’ careers