In a rare statement from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding United States Politics with respect to sport, the organization said it has accepted the actions of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to safeguard international sport amid the highly controversial travel plans put into place Saturday by President Donald Trump restricting entry by citizens of seven muslim-majority countries.
“The IOC has been informed by the USOC about the pledge of cooperation it received from the US Government with regard to expedited access to the United States for athletes and officials in order to participate in international sports competitions,” the IOC conveyed Tuesday, words that will certainly be well-received by officials representing the Los Angeles bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“The IOC welcomes the initiative by USOC and trusts that international competitions in the United States continue to take place in line with the Olympic Values of friendship, excellence and respect.”
That comes only a day after the IOC refused comment on the issue, instead offering simply “the IOC does not comment on the politics of sovereign countries.”
However later Monday the USOC indicated that it had been in contact with an unnamed government official, and had been given assurances.
A statement by the USOC Chair Larry Probst and CEO Scott Blackmun Monday said that they had been in touch with U.S. officials and said “recognizing the extraordinary power of international sport to bring people together in a peaceful celebration of friendship, excellence and respect, the U.S. government has today advised us that it will work with us to ensure that athletes and officials from all countries will have expedited access to the United States…”
Throughout Republican Donald Trump’s election run, IOC President Thomas Bach refused to comment on the soon-to-be elected President’s divisive and controversial rhetoric that stood against the values and principals of Olympism. Bach is still unlikely to get involved with comments regarding a nation on which his organization has financial dependence, with significant revenues streams linked to broadcasters and sponsors.
In November Trump reportedly had a telephone conversation with Bach, as organized by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, when the U.S. President spoke of his support of the Los Angeles’ 2024 Olympic bid.
The expeditious statements by both the IOC and USOC will quell a rising wave against LA 2024 after many journalists suggested that the bid couldn’t win, shouldn’t win or should be abandoned altogether due to the nation’s new stance on immigration. On Tuesday L.A. sent the final bid documents to IOC headquarters in Lausanne; these are due by Friday – the day the IOC has authorized that international promotion may begin.
The IOC will elect the 2024 host from among L.A., Budapest and Paris on September 13 in Lima, Peru.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.