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Would athletes be exempt from a Beijing 2022 Olympics boycott?

Will Western nations boycott next year's Beijing Winter Olympics over China's human rights abuses in Xinjiang? Probably not, says the International Olympic Committee's Dick Pound. But some countries, he anticipates, may opt to only send their athletes — like his native Canada, which has a lot of diplomatic issues with the Chinese. Pound, a former Olympian athlete himself, spoke in an interview with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Politics, protest & the Olympics: the IOC's Dick Pound

Politics, protest & the Olympics: the IOC’s Dick Pound

With COVID rates rising globally, this year's Olympics faced some major hurdles. But the pandemic was only part of the picture. The Tokyo Games played out against a backdrop of mounting global tension surrounding gender equality, racism and human rights, leaving many people to examine the place of politics on the playing field and podium. On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer looks at the long history of protest at the Games with Dick Pound, the longest serving member of the International Olympic Committee and a former Olympic athlete himself. Plus: the US Women's National Soccer Team is the most decorated team in the sport, but are they paid as much as their male counterparts? A look at what equal pay for equal play means.

The new Olympic spirit of protest

Politics at the Olympics are nothing new. In 1968, two black athletes who won medals in the 200m race raised a fist to protest racial inequality, a move that got them banned from the Olympics for life. A few years later, the IOC introduced Rule 50, which reads: "It is a fundamental principle that sport is neutral and must be separate from political, religious or any other type of interference." As this year's Tokyo Games wrap up, they'll be remembered not just for the pandemic, or the heated local battles over whether they should happen at all. They are also a moment when Rule 50 got squishy. Whether it was soccer players taking a knee, German gymnasts in full body leotards, or Australian athletes holding up an indigenous flag, there's been a lot of protesting going on. And to some extent, the rules have been relaxed - though not everyone agrees they should be.

Podcast: The IOC's Dick Pound on how sports and politics should mix

Listen: On the GZERO World Podcast, a look at the long history of protest at the Games with Dick Pound, the longest serving member of the International Olympic Committee and a former Olympic athlete himself. With COVID rates rising globally, this year's Olympics faced some major hurdles. But the pandemic was only part of the picture. The Tokyo Games played out against a backdrop of mounting global tension surrounding gender equality, racism and human rights, leaving many people to examine the place of politics on the playing field and podium.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.


Dick Pound: Olympics successful despite COVID tensions

Before the Olympics, most Japanese people were against the Games due to fear of COVID. As the tournament got on, the International Olympic Committee's Dick Pound says that most resistance vanished, but some resentment still lingers among Tokyo's residents. "There's that tension, that still exists, but it's not interfering with the sport," Pound tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Watch this episode on US public television - check local listings.

How should athletes protest at the Olympics?

For Dick Pound, the longest serving member of the International Olympic Committee, protesting at the Games is fine — as long as it doesn't "interfere" with the competition itself or awards ceremonies. The Olympics, in his view, are an oasis of calm in the middle of an increasingly tense world, and "we shouldn't be spoiling that by pointing out the obvious , which is that there are social and political problems." Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on the latest episode of GZERO World on US public television.

Belarus human rights abuses stacking up; Beirut blast one year later

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week with a look at the deteriorating human rights situation in Belarus, Delta variant woes, and Lebanon one year after the Beirut blast.

An Olympian refuses to return home to Belarus and an anti-Lukashenko activist has been found dead in Ukraine. What's going on?

Yeah. That anti-Lukashenko activist was found hanged in a park in Kiev. Once again, not exactly likely a suicide. These anti-Lukashenko activists have a way of turning up injured or dead. It's a horrible regime. Their friends are limited largely to the Russians. That's about it. The economic pressure is growing from Europe, from the United States, very coordinated. But the problem is a very hard to do much to Lukashenko when he has not only support of his military, but also the support of most of the workers in the country who aren't prepared to strike because they want to ensure they still have jobs. I expect this is going to continue, but human rights abuses are stacking up. It is nice to see that the Americans and the Europeans are coordinating policy as well as they have been.

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