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Olympic Political Correctness
Who will win the racial-sensitivity gold medal?

Greek triple-jump champion Voula Papachristou

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John Fund

The German media has been tying itself in knots trying to reconcile its desire to expel the far right from public life with principles of tolerance and fairness. Left-wing newspapers are bemoaning the fact that Drygalla was even allowed on the Olympic team, because regional rowing and sports federations were informed of her relationship with Fischer last year. The center-left Berliner Zeitung cautions Drygalla’s critics against making “a snap judgment. Otherwise they may themselves hurt the spirit of tolerance and democracy.”

Drygalla’s former teammates in her Rostock rowing club are bitter. They say the treatment she received recalls the practice of sippenhaft, which means “kin liability.” It was used by the Nazi regime to justify the arrest and torture of the relatives of dissidents and suspects.

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People who want to root out everyone accused of holding objectionable views from Olympic teams — or anyone who is related to someone who has objectionable views — would be wise to remember something: The Olympics is about sports, not politics. Every country in the world, no matter how odious, is allowed to compete. That includes North Korea, which starves its own people and maintains sadistic gulags for dissidents. It includes Cuba and Uganda, which persecute gays. It includes Saudi Arabia and Iran, where female adulterers can be stoned to death.

If people really want an Olympics free of people who are offensive, they should call for a committee to screen out countries with abominable human-rights records. After all, some athletes may be complicit in the activities of their government, informing on teammates in exchange for favored treatment. East German Olympic figure skater Katarina Witt, one of the darlings of the ice rink in the 1980s, was later proven to be an informer for the Stasi secret police who met with her control agent even after the Berlin Wall fell.

Somehow I doubt the Racial Sensitivity Police at the Olympics want to open that can of worms. Instead, they prefer to score cheap points by enforcing their brand of political correctness — for offenses that are sometimes real, sometimes exaggerated, and sometimes just silly.

— John Fund is national-affairs columnist for NRO.



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