The United Nations General Assembly once again voted to adopt an “Olympic Truce” ahead of the upcoming 2022 Beijing Olympic Games.
The Olympic Truce, a tradition dating back to ancient Greece, has historically been announced before the Olympics to ensure the host city is not attacked and so athletes and spectators can travel safely to and from the Games. Every two years since 1993, a year before each Games, the UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution called “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal,” as it did this week.
The truce will take effect seven days before the start of the Games on Feb. 4, 2022, and run until seven days after the end of the Paralympic Games. The resolution was co-sponsored by 173 out of 193 UN Member States.
“The IOC very much welcomes the great support for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 by all the UN Member States, expressed through the adoption by consensus of the Truce Resolution. This is a great recognition of the mission of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to unite the best athletes of the world in peaceful competition, and standing above any political dispute,” IOC President Thomas Bach said.
In a speech delivered on his behalf (Bach was not in attendance due to the pandemic), he added: “History also shows us what happens if the political neutrality of the Olympic Games is not respected. The ancient Olympic Games came to an end when the Roman emperor Theodosius effectively abolished them for political reasons. It took almost 2,000 years before the Olympic Games could be revived by our founder, Pierre de Coubertin. I hope very much that we all take this lesson of history to heart.”
“[The pandemic] has taught us one lesson: we can only go faster, we can only aim higher, we can only become stronger, if we work together,” Bach added. “This is why the IOC amended the Olympic motto to: Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together”. The word ‘together’ tells us: We need more solidarity. More solidarity within societies and more solidarity among societies. Because: there is no peace without solidarity.”
The announcement comes amid calls for a boycott — or total cancellation — of the Games in light of China’s human rights abuses. The IOC has recently faced immense criticism for its handling of the case surrounding Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who hasn’t been heard from publicly since posting sexual assault allegations against a high-ranking Chinese official on social media last month.