(Reuters) – Olympic champion skier Mikaela Shiffrin has said she should not have to choose between her “morals” and her “job” amid calls for a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Human rights groups have urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to take the Games out of China because of its treatment of Uighur Muslims and other human rights concerns. China denies human rights abuses.
Commenting on a possible boycott of the Beijing Games, American Shiffrin told CNN: “The Olympics is big, and it’s something that you shoot for, and you don’t want to miss it.
“And you certainly don’t want to be put in the position of having to choose between human rights, like morality versus being able to do your job, which on the other hand can bring light to some issues or can actually bring hope to the world at a very difficult time.”
Shiffrin, who won the giant slalom gold at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, said competing in countries accused of human rights abuses was “tough”.
“What’s a real bummer is that there’s not only accusations but, like, legitimate proof in a lot of these places we’ve been going the last several Olympics,” she said.
“One of the important things about the Olympics is that it is supposed to be a global event,” she added. “I do understand the importance of trying to stay true to that pledge, essentially. But it is tough, to be honest.”
The United States has not decided whether it will take part in the 2022 Winter Olympics in China, a White House spokesman said last week.
Shiffrin said the IOC needed to consider how athletes might be affected when choosing Games hosts.
“I doubt it’s an easy job, but it feels like there could be more consideration when you’re hosting an event that’s supposed to bring the world together and create hope and peace in a sense,” she said. “Some places seem more fitting than others.”
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Gerry Doyle)