We all know that not only is this an election year, but it’s an Olympic year, with the 2008 Olympic Games being held in Beijing this upcoming August.

With the recent crackdown by the Chinese government in Tibet, along with their ongoing support of the Sudanese government (which is contributing to the problems in Darfur), there have been a number of calls for an Olympic boycott.

I, for one, don’t think a full-scale boycott is the way. Then I ran across this article:

Calls Mount for Olympic Ceremony Boycott

PARIS (AP) – Moves to punish China over its handling of violence in Tibet gained momentum Tuesday, with a novel suggestion for a mini-boycott of the Beijing Olympics by VIPs at the opening ceremony.

Such a protest by world leaders would be a huge slap in the face for China’s Communist leadership.

Can you imagine the embarrassment felt if all the various world leaders opted not to attend the opening ceremonies, as they are currently expected to do? Can you imagine the further embarrassment felt if the world’s athletes opted not to attend as well?

Elsewhere in the article, it states:

Such an opening ceremony boycott presumably would not include the athletes, who under Olympic rules are forbidden from making any kind of protest at events or venues – including the opening ceremony. It’s not mandatory that every athlete participate in the opening ceremony.

I think that all athletes, especially the American ones, should skip the opening ceremony … not in protest, but because it’s not mandatory. And while protesting is banned at events and venues, I hope that there are some athletes who are courageous enough to stand up to the IOC, to their national Olympic committees, and to the Chinese and express their opinions on live international television, as did Tommie Smith and John Carlos 40 years ago in Mexico City, even though it meant their expulsion from the Games.

There are rules which are meant to be followed (i.e., those ensuring the fairness of the competition), and their are rules which should be broken at almost every opportunity (i.e., those meant to suppress free expression and dissent, because they might prove an embarrassment).