Abercrombie Calls for a Boycott of Summer Olympics

Gerry Lindgren
Gerry Lindgren

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- A United States boycott of the Olympics has happened before. Could it happen again this year?

The political unrest in Tibet is what prompted Hawaii congressman Neil Abercrombie to spearhead an effort to boycott the Olympics in China this summer. Some athletes believe this might be detrimental to their futures, and the countries athletic programs.

For many Olympic athletes, representing their country is a life-long dream. But some lawmakers feel those dreams can be put on hold if it means saving a country from political corruption,, unrest and street violence.

"There are world championships. There's plenty of opportunity for people to exercise their athletic skills. We're talking about human rights here; we're talking about a people being crushed," said (D) Hawaii Representative Neil Abercrombie.

Others believe it's never a good thing to mix politics with athletics.

"Politically it makes a difference what the Chinese people are doing in Tibet athletically it makes no difference what they're doing in Tibet. It's not an athletic issue, it's a political issue," said Former Olympian Gerry Lindgren.

Pole Vaulter Amy Linnen has been trying to represent her country for ten years. For her, a boycott would be devastating.

"You're ruining a lot of peoples dreams and taking away a lot of what they've worked for and worked so hard for and given up a lot of their life for," said Athlete Amy Linnen.

With the Summer Games just months away, Gerry Lindgren would like nothing more than to see the threat of a boycott averted.

"It hurt American athletes and our athletic program so much in 1980 that I don't think that anybody would be that stupid to do it again," said Gerry Lindgren.

While both athletes are sympathetic to the situation in Tibet, they hope the sacrifices of U.S. athletes will be respected as well.

On Tuesday, Hawaii Congressman Neil Abercrombie sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressing concern over the political situation in Tibet. That letter also has the support of other lawmakers across the country.