Why is it that some black Americans find a long-held normal and impartial practice to be biased and racist, only because they were not selected by a chance process?
Case in point is US Olympic speed skater Shani Davis.
Members of the US Olympic team vote amongst themselves for who they believe should carry the American flag during the Opening Ceremony. This has been the standard and historic process for a number of years and sometimes when the votes are counted there is a tie. In past tie votes, a coin toss was used to decide which one of the athletes who tied, would get to carry the flag and lead the team into the stadium. This year, there was a tie between Shani Davis and luger Erin Hamlin. The coin was tossed and Hamlin won.
Davis, a black American declared the coin toss to be racist and that he deserved to carry the American flag into the Opening Ceremony in PyeongChang. Consequently, he decided to boycott the Opening Ceremony, letting his OWN racist views to deny himself the experience that thrills all of the other athletes.
Davis has obviously forgotten the whole message and purpose of the Olympics.
According to the Olympics official website:
“Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.”
“The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”
The Olympics is supposed to transcend politics, racism, ethnic and social backgrounds. Where else would you see athletes for two enemy nations competing on the same team? That is exactly what is happening this year when North and South Korean athletes marched into the Olympic stadium as one unified team representing a unified Korea.
Sadly, Davis is not the only black American athlete to abuse his presence in the apolitical atmosphere of the Olympics.
In the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City, two black American athletes decides to bring their racist protest to the medal podium. Tommie Smith won the gold medal in the 200 m race and John Carlos won the bronze. During the medal presentation and the playing of the American National Anthem, the two athletes lowered their heads and raised their fists, with black gloves, in defiance and protest.
The International Olympic Committee was so incensed that the athletes violated the fundamental principles of the Olympic spirit that they ordered the two athletes to be suspended from the US team. When the US Olympic committee refused, the IOC threatened to ban the entire US track team, so both Smith and Carlos were suspended and sent home.
There is a place and time for protests, but the Olympics are not the place and since Davis has made a random coin toss a racial issue and boycotted the Opening Ceremony, some feel that Davis should be suspended from the US team and sent home, where he can protest all he wants.