Mikaela Shiffrin during the Cortina d'Ampezzo Worlds, February 20, 2021. -

Giovanni Auletta / AP / SIPA

The American ski star Mikaela Shiffrin regretted this Tuesday the dilemma imposed on athletes, participate in the Winter Olympics or listen to their conscience, while calls for a boycott of Beijing 2022 are multiplying in the name of human rights abuses committed by China.

“It's tough, to be honest,” remarked the skier with six world titles and 68 World Cup victories.

Athletes need to find "a delicate balance," she continued.

A choice "between morality and your work"

“The Olympics are important.

This is something you are aiming for and you don't want to miss them.

You certainly don't want to be put in the position of having to choose between human rights, morality, and being able to do your job, ”she said.

Asked by CNN about the “embarrassing” nature of participating in the Olympics in countries accused, such as China, of human rights abuses, Shiffrin replied that what was “really unfortunate is that there (are) not only accusations, but legitimate evidence (of these attacks) in many of these countries where we participated in the last Olympic Games ”.

The 2018 Winter Games were held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Four years earlier, they were standing in Sochi, Russia, another country with a lackluster human rights record.

Shiffrin has won a gold medal in each edition.

A boycott?

"Irresponsible" and "political", according to Beijing

The preparation for the next February Olympics was clouded by the fate of China's Uighurs.

According to studies by American or Australian institutes, at least one million members of this Muslim minority were interned in "camps" in the vast region of Xinjiang (North West) and some subjected to "forced labor" or "Forced sterilizations".

China categorically denies the last two accusations and asserts that the "camps" are "vocational training centers" intended to distance the population from religious extremism, after a series of attacks attributed to Uyghurs.

Nearly 180 foreign associations on Wednesday called on governments around the world to boycott the 2022 Olympics in the name of human rights, an initiative deemed by Beijing to be “irresponsible” and “political”.

"We could show more consideration" for these subjects when awarding the Olympics, "an event supposed to bring the world together and create hope and peace," said Mikaela Shiffrin, for whom "some places seem more appropriate than others ”.


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  • China

  • Uighurs

  • Beijing

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