The Tokyo Olympic Games got the world excited and hooked. The Olympics have always been a huge event that brought people together from all around the globe, not just to compete for bronze, silver, and gold, but to promote collaboration, healthy competitions, and world peace.
Throughout the Olympics history, people used this event to open conversations about political, social, and even identity-related issues, but while some people are using this event to promote a better world, others are using it to express racism, discrimination and hatred loudly enough for the whole world to hear and see.
“Get the camel riders”
As Azzedine Lagab and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier, from Algeria and Eritrea, rode past the German biker Nikias Arndt, Germany cycling sports director Patrick Moster yelled “Hol die Kameltreiber! Hol die Kameltreiber,” which translates to “Get the camel riders,” in efforts to motivate him to move faster.
This racist comment resulted in global outrage as viewers could not believe the bluntly racist and insensitive comment they just heard.
Arndt, the German biker, tweeted “I’m horrified and I want to say clearly that I have nothing to do with these remarks, the words used were unacceptable.”
Pink masks in protest of sexual abuse
The USA fencing team had people talking and it wasn’t because of their athletic performance. Three of the four team members wore light-pink masks while the fourth was wearing a black mask.
Those wearing pink masks did to protest against their fourth team member, Alen Hadzic, who is currently accused of and under investigation for sexual assault.
Hadzic was accused of sexual assault by three women between 2013 and 2015, he denies the allegations but the trio reportedly wore pink masks to distinguish themselves from Hadzic, support the accusers and make a statement against the Olympics committee who made the choice to let someone accused of such a crime to participate in the games.
Pink is used to express femininity, compassion and support for sexual assault victims.
“The Tunisian cannot win”
At only 18, Tunisian swimmer Ahmed El-Hefnawy won the gold medal and became the first Arab to win a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics 2021 and the youngest Arab athlete to win a gold medal in history.
Despite his record-breaking achievement, the young athlete still fell victim to discrimination. One of the interviewers on the Euro Sports channel commented: “The Tunisian cannot win” in a belittling attitude not towards the Tunisian champion only but towards all Arabs.
Your athletic achievements don’t mean you’re safe from mockery
The female Brazilian goalkeeper, Barbara Micheline do Monte Barbosa received so many hateful comments on social media referring to her weight.
The Dutch journalist Johan Derksen mocked Barbosa saying: “That was just a pig with a sweater.”
He also said: “This is a total mockery of the Brazilian national team. They didn’t really stop a decent ball and they couldn’t get off the ground.”
Although these stories and their likes are extremely saddening, we should celebrate the fact that the world now has its eyes wide open that when something as disgusting as the discussed above happens, we are here to criticize, punish and try to restore balance.