OPINION

Congressman Smith Capitol Report: The Olympics

Jason Smith

This weekend, billions of people around the world tuned into the Summer Olympic Games in Japan.

Since its modern creation in 1896, when the Athens Olympic Games were held, the Olympics have been an event of patriotism and celebration, as entire nations cheer on their athletes.

One of the reasons I look forward – and so many Americans look forward – to the Olympic Games is because it’s a chance for us all to unite behind our athletes.

But this year, little attention is being paid to our moment for national unity. Instead, there is a growing trend of American athletes taking advantage of the international platform afforded by the Olympic games to perpetuate divisive, hateful, and anti-American ideologies.

One competitor, Chelsea Wolfe, who qualified for this year’s summer games, posted on social media stating that her goal is to “win the Olympics so I can burn a US flag on the podium,” and then in another comment implied that President Donald Trump should be assassinated.

Another competitor, Gwen Berry, turned away from the American flag during an Olympic qualifying event and said she was “pissed” that the national anthem was even playing while she stood on the podium after she placed third, good enough to qualify for the Olympics.

In their opening soccer match, the women’s U.S. soccer team kneeled at the start of their match to protest. The Associated Press ran an article headlined, “Soccer players kneel to start new era of Olympic activism.”

The news media took great pains to highlight that the women’s team wasn’t kneeling during the playing of America’s national anthem or the sight of the American flag – as they have in many matches over the past several years. This is supposed to be progress? Give me a break.

In the United States, our woke corporations are encouraging this effort to tear down America. There’s far more money to be made and fame to be achieved by snubbing the American flag and the national anthem than by embracing them. Look no further than Colin Kaepernick who makes millions as a self-aggrandizing symbol of supposed racial justice.

As our sports leagues convert themselves into woke factories of anti-American sentiments, and the media chooses to give them megaphones to amplify this message, more and more Americans are choosing to move on.

Meanwhile, the thousands of athletes with track records far superior to either Kaepernick, Berry, or Wolfe’s, who stand for the national anthem, remain unknown. And it’s sad because sports should unify us all, especially when the athlete is wearing red, white, and blue, yet it’s become another divisive aspect of American life.

The Olympics’ own international charter explicitly states that “no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”

I joined 39 of my Republican colleagues in fighting to ensure the International Olympic Committee enforces this rule so that all Americans can actually enjoy all of the athletes who are there to proudly represent our country.

It is sad that it has come to this, but I would rather support a last-place U.S. athlete who is proud to represent their country than have to cheer on an anti-American gold medalist.

Contrary to these athletes’ belief, what makes America great is as true today as it was in 1776. Our country remains the most open, dynamic, free, stable, and culturally diverse nation that has ever existed. America is worth fighting for. I hope our athletes make us proud these next two weeks.

Congressman Jason Smith, R-MO, represents Rolla in Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District.