SAN JOSE, Calif. — Two executives for U.S. Figure Skating warned against any potential boycott of the Pyeongchang Olympics by the United States.
USFS President Sam Auxier, asked Wednesday about Sen. Lindsey Graham’s comments that North Korea competing in next month’s games should prompt a U.S. team boycott, said Graham and others “need to be careful” about the American team not participating. Auxier added, “They shouldn’t be playing politics with this.”
Added U.S. Figure Skating Executive Director David Raith about political intervention in the Olympic process: “It doesn’t help anybody.” We’ll be there.”
USOC spokesman Mark Jones, reiterating the governing body’s long-held position, said: “We intend to bring full delegations to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
On Monday, Graham said the United States now has a reason to stay away from the Olympics, which begin on Feb. 9.
“Allowing Kim Jong Un’s North Korea to participate in #WinterOlympics would give legitimacy to the most illegitimate regime on the planet,” the South Carolina Republican tweeted. “I’m confident South Korea will reject this absurd overture and fully believe that if North Korea goes to the Winter Olympics, we do not.”
The last thing American figure skaters want is to be drawn into any such debate as their national championships, which serve as the Olympic Trials, began Wednesday. The athletes tend to shy away from the topic, trying to avoid the distraction.
Auxier and Raith met it head on, however, expressing both concerns about political interference and confidence their athletes want to attend the Pyeonchang Games.
More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org