Back at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, 1,500m runner Sebastian Coe defied his government’s call to boycott the Games (Britain objected to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan). Coe went on to win gold.
Now, in 2013, Coe is speaking out against the countries calling for a boycott of the upcoming 2014 Olympics in Sochi due to Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law.
Here are Coe’s thoughts, via Reuters:
I am against boycotts. I don’t think they achieve what they set out to do. They harm only one group – the athletes. International sport is not an inhibitor of social change, it actually has a catalytic effect.
This stadium in a large part defined what I did in my athletics career and a large part of what I went on to do. I believed that coming to Moscow in 1980 was the right thing to do and 10 years later we saw those changes.
What do you think, FanSided readers? Are boycotts a good means of causing social change? Or, as Coe says, are they empty gestures? If you were an Olympic caliber athlete, how would you feel about your country potentially preventing you from competing in the Olympics for political reasons? Share your thoughts in the comments below.