Olympics 2022 | Column by Martina Ertl: “We are the sport!”

The XXIV Olympic Winter Games will take place in Beijing from February 4th to 20th. Martina Ertl-Renz is someone who knows what is important at a major event. The former alpine star took part in five winter games and won three medals. For, the 48-year-old comments on what is happening around the major event in China.

Never before have the images of an Olympic opening ceremony made me more thoughtful than this time. For me, the colorful performances, the song of praise to the youth of the world and the thanks to the kind Chinese, which was formulated so literally by IOC President Bach, stand in contrast to the images that shaped the very first day of the games: the three-time Olympic champion Eric Frenzel, who was put in an isolation cell by the organizers after his corona infection and the Dutch commentator, who was physically harassed by a police officer for no reason – kind hospitality looks different!

Things that are happening now are happening against the will of the world’s youth. Protests, requests, suggestions from those who make this sports festival possible are simply ignored.

Athletes stand for fairness and respect for others, stand for equal rights for everyone, for human rights. The athletes known as the youth of the world want to speak their minds freely, they want to do their sport in peace and compete, they want to be sure that the world is preserved and kept worth living in, and above all: they want to be involved in the practice of sport set a sign of peace with other athletes. To be honest: It doesn’t get more political than that!

The words and actions of those responsible for the Olympics are so far apart that we athletes have to be louder.

Against this background, I see the opening ceremony as the starting signal for a broad discussion on how we would like to celebrate the Olympic Games in the future, and with the participation of the athletes, please. As a former competitive athlete and member of society, I see that we should use existing sports facilities and not new buildings worth millions that might destroy nature reserves. Winter sports in particular should pay attention to climate protection.

We want countries to host the games that respect people and their opinions – and we want to be heard as athletes and no longer be the pawn of officials! Because we are the sport!

Best regards

Martina Ertl


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