ROTHENBURGER – Canada’s athletes should refuse to compete against China

An Armchair Mayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

I CAUGHT A FEW ENDS of curling on TV last weekend. It was an international competition called the Curling World Cup Grand Final.

I thought, “What the hell?” This event was being held in Beijing. There were several Canadian teams. They were playing against Chinese teams. Not only that, who was coaching the Chinese? Canadians.

Normally, I would have thought nothing of it, but under current circumstances, it offended me.

Here we are, being bullied right and left by one of the world’s two super powers, and we’re teaching them how to curl?

There’s an unwritten rule that we don’t mix sports and politics, though it happens with the occasional boycott of the Olympics.

But it seems hypocritical to me that while China imprisons and sentences Canadians to death and does its best to cripple our economy, we carry on business as usual in sports.

Awhile back, I suggested a grassroots approach to the problem through our countless organizations and businesses with ties to China. Maybe we need to include sports.

What if we refused to compete against Chinese athletes?

Drastic? Sure. But think of it. Curling is but one example — it’s a sport at which Canada is the best in the world. If China and Canada are scheduled to play each other, but the Canadian team refuses to take the ice, that would be noticed.

Now, extend that to tennis, track and field, gymnastics, figure skating and even hockey, where China is trying to build competence. Sure, our professional athletes would kick, but it’s time to step up.

As they say in politics these days, we have to use every tool in our toolbox. And when it comes to China, we don’t have a lot of tools. Sports are one.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (8041 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on ROTHENBURGER – Canada’s athletes should refuse to compete against China

  1. Robert A Bruce // May 14, 2019 at 8:18 AM // Reply

    Pierre, first go find out what “face” means to the chinese, culturally. So far we have lost face dealing with them. That’s where the real damage is done. If we removed our selves, on the verge of competitions. From the playing field. This makes a huge difference in China. Means jack to the rest of the world. But inside China, the loss of face perceived by the populace is the most important. This is why the communistists advertise and trash Canada, domestically. China faces inward, always has. They are just now becoming international. Being in China, and giving them the finger, works more that anything else….but is also the most dangerous. After all it is a dictatorship by committee.

  2. Sean McGuinness // May 14, 2019 at 7:22 AM // Reply

    Unfortunately, the athletes are the ones who are punished more, and they are not the real targets. It’s the people in the upper echelons of the Chinese govt and their cronies that we should take aim at. I would suggest sanctions similar to those enacted for Russia which target specific people and businesses.

  3. Do you really think the Chinese government would all of the sudden shudder if a curling (or any other sport for that matter, except maybe for soccer but we don’t “soccer” in Canada) competition was boycotted by Canadian teams or athletes? I sure don’t think so. Canada has only one option, to be nice to be really nice!

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