Interview: Winter Olympics shouldn’t be politicized, says Montenegrin Olympic official

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Xinhua/Updated: Jan 30, 2022

BELGRADE — The Olympic Winter Games in Beijing is a major opportunity for athletes to show their quality amid the pandemic and should be left outside global political disputes, Igor Vusurovic, general secretary of the Montenegrin Olympic Committee, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Vusurovic, who participated in the 2008 Summer Games as a volleyball player, stressed that global politics shouldn’t interfere with sports and disturb athletes in their efforts to show the results of their training.

“I don’t share the attitude that global politics should interfere in decisions related to the field of sports so much, allowing athletes to demonstrate their qualities in such a great global competition,” said Vusurovic.

“Athletes fight, improve themselves and train hard. Global politics and conflicts should remain outside sports, and each athlete who deserved it with his effort and work, disregarding all other attitudes, must have a space to present what he achieved in the past four years in the best possible way,” he said.

Vusurovic said that his country is looking forward to sending an Olympic delegation to the Winter Games, including three athletes to compete in Nordic combined and Alpine skiing.

He assured that the favorable pandemic situation in Beijing is “an indicator that the Chinese government and host cities raised the protocols, that people are willing to help as much as they can with their relations towards the problem, in order to have these Games organized in the best possible way”.

Asked if he thought the Winter Olympics would be successful, he replied, “Absolutely! I am convinced of it, because there wasn’t any postponement because the Games were prepared for many years in advance, because many facilities made in 2008 will be reused for the Winter Olympics.”

“A country such as China has the full power to organize such a sporting event in these times in the best possible way. I agree with the IOC president’s remarks that even in times like this, it is possible to raise the Games to an even higher level, and to demonstrate once again the greatness, knowledge and abilities of people involved in the organization of the Games, enabling all of us to jointly realize yet another successful Winter Olympic Games,” said Vusurovic.

Speaking about the COVID-19 protocols, he revealed that Montenegrin athletes fulfilled all obligations and are looking forward to the Games and spending time in the Olympic Villages in spite of all the difficulties.

Vusurovic added that despite the absence of an international audience, and the fact that most people will only watch on TV, the Olympic Winter Games will show that sports will not stop in face of the pandemic and that sporting competitions will continue to be held.

He praised China’s handling of the epidemic and assured that the Winter Olympics will be organized to the highest possible level.

“In these difficult times, China has shown it can answer all the challenges in front of them,” he concluded.

Vusurovic said that he is also certain that the Beijing Olympic Winter Games will contribute to worldwide sporting cooperation and promote important values of the Olympic movement.

“Their mission is not only in sport, but also in friendship and unification around ideals and ideas promoted by the International Olympic Committee, such as equality,” he said.

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