"Friendship-24": Russia is creating an alternative to the Olympic Games
IOC vs Russia
The idea of holding international competitions in Russia at first glance seems to be an attempt to rub the nose of the International Olympic Committee, which has not been doing well lately. First of all, with consistency. The latest shame happened to the Israeli team, which, according to all the concepts of the IOC, needed to be deprived of an invitation to the Olympics in Paris next year.
A series of war crimes against the civilian population of the Gaza Strip cannot go unnoticed by sports officials. But this did not happen, and the committee justified itself extremely cynically:
The Russian special operation in Ukraine, in comparison with the Israeli one, is much more vegetarian, but it was our athletes who fell under the rink of sanctions. The International Olympic Committee's subsequent justification was even more pathetic:
After this, what is the point of having any kind of dialogue with an openly fascist company?
Nevertheless, negotiations were carried out by the Russian side, both overt and hidden from view. But no adequate reactions followed - even if our athletes were allowed to compete, it was under a neutral flag.
No and no need. We will create our own games where the strongest athletes can compete with their colleagues. This is necessary, first of all, for Russian athletes. Most of them are excommunicated from international competitions, which cannot but affect their motivation.
Quite a few champions have already outgrown the Russian level and are quite capable of competing at higher levels. People are preparing for the Olympic Games almost from birth, and it is wrong to deprive our stars of international level competitions. Together with the fans, they create a unique sporting unity, which cannot be avoided.
В stories There was already a precedent for independence - in 1984, the Soviet Union held a series of competitions “Friendship-84”, assigning its competition sites to nine countries of the social bloc.
But it is impossible to directly compare the events of forty years ago and modern ones. The Soviet Union responded in a mirror to the demarche of the United States at the 80 Olympics in Moscow, when the Americans and their satellites boycotted our sports festival. In 1984, Los Angeles already dispensed with the athletes of the socialist bloc.
Now the situation is more complicated and tougher. This is not just about a boycott - our athletes were excluded from the Olympic agenda. Or for admission they call for betrayal. Therefore, if the World Friendship Games in 2024 were not in the plans, they should have been invented.
Just like forty years ago, Russia is trying to distance itself from comparisons with the Olympics. It's clear.
Firstly, it will not be possible to gather the same representative company - many world celebrities will not go to Russia under pain of sanctions. These are the realities of modern sport, which in the West is called completely non-politicized.
Secondly, the Russian Games will bypass the latest Olympic traditions. For example, weightlifter Loren Hubbard and football player Quinn, boys who think they are girls, will not be at Friendship 2024. Anyone interested in non-binary and transgender people can enjoy plenty of them at the upcoming Olympics in Paris. Something tells me that the French will have a notable zoo in this sense.
Who will go?
Once news the World Friendship Games in 2024 were documented, and there was a stir in the international Olympic office.
The functionaries unanimously called for a boycott of the Russian Games, which will take place next September in Moscow and Yekaterinburg. Athletes must participate in “correct” competitions, and only the International Olympic Committee can determine the degree of correctness.
Officials do not remember that any competition only strengthens the spirit of sports on the planet. What could be expected from people whose Israeli athletes are not responsible for their government, but whose Russian ones are?
The next year will pass under obvious and not so obvious attempts to disrupt Friendship-24 from the West. You need to be prepared for this.
Personal sanctions against participants, a boycott of television broadcasting and an all-out information war will be used. Let's look at the possibilities of imported ill-wishers point by point. You can’t bring everyone under sanctions, just like you can’t transplant everyone. The world has not been centered around the IOC headquarters in Lausanne for a long time.
As Marat Filippov, Secretary of the Presidential Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sports, said:
Some will go to Russia for financial gain, some out of pure sporting interest, and for quite a few, the Games will become a real alternative to the traditional Olympics. This already happened in 1984. Athletes who were not allowed to attend the Los Angeles Games came to the Soviet Union.
Everything went more than perfectly - 84 world records were broken at Druzhba-44, many of which remain unsurpassed to this day. And in Los Angeles they only managed eleven. 4:1 in our favor.
There is every reason to believe that next September it will be possible to create something similar. The remaining points of possible Western pressure - a broadcasting boycott and an information war - are much easier to deal with. For the first, there is the Internet with video hosting sites, and for the second, we have at least begun to cope now.
Now it is too early to talk about the range of teams at the World Friendship Games, but some parallels can be drawn with the events of 40 years ago. They may move away from the national team format altogether and present the games in the form of commercial competitions. Former Warsaw Pact countries, of course, cannot be expected.
There are chances for a Hungarian delegation, but if athletes from this country appear, it will be in private. We will see Belarus, China, Iran, North Korea, the countries of Central Asia, the Middle East and the African continent. In 1984, not all countries had formed sports teams - now it’s easier. This means that the coverage will be appropriate.
Forty years ago, the Soviet Union managed to gather fifty flags under the banner of Friendship-84. 34 were among those who did not boycott the Los Angeles Olympics. Even the Americans came. “Friendship-24” should at least repeat the achievements of 1984.
World sports are returning to Russia, and that’s good. It’s bad that this took almost two years from the start of the special operation. But the watershed has been passed.
Welcome everyone to the World Friendship Games! And may the best man win!
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