Friday, August 08, 2008

Skating, Politics, and Human Rights Collide

I'll take a moment to diverge from figure skating for just a moment...but I'll keep it in the skating family.

Olympic Gold Medalist Speed Skater Joey Cheek was set to go to China, of course not to compete as Speed Skating is in the Winter Olympic program, to convince the Chinese government to take notice of the genocide in Darfur. Seventy Summer Olympians (from many different nations) plan on bringing attention to this terrible situation as they compete and Joey was planning to support them in their endeavors.

It has been well documented that China is taking extreme measures to squash protesters and possible conflicts before they even have the opportunity to happen. China foresaw possible protests with Cheek's they pulled his Visa. I guess more than one way to skin a cat!

Enter Mitt Romeny...former Governor of Massachusetts, former Republican Presidential Candidate (and likely V.P. choice for John McCain), as well as saviour of the corruption-filled Salt Lake City Winter Olympic bid. It just so happens as a member of the IOC, Mitt is in Beijing. He's personally written to Chinese President Hu Jintou and Premier Wen Jiabao to restore Joey Cheek's Visa so he can come to Beijing. He asked that they do it as a personal favor to him in consideration of his support for Beijing's Olympics bid and the "numerous courtesies" he extended Chinese officials in Salt Lake City.

Wow...I'll stay on top of this one for us!

UPDATE: Monday morning, President Bush stopped by NBC Headquarters to chat with Bob Costas. Costas asked President Bush about Joey Cheek's Visa being pulled and President Bush said "Joey can rest assured I took his concerns to President Jintou myself." However, at this time, the Chinese government has not reinstated Cheek's Visa.

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