The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) said Wednesday that it “strongly” opposed the proposed boycott suggested by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics if Russia granted NSA leaker Edward Snowden asylum.
Graham had suggested on Tuesday that President Barack Obama’s administration should consider a boycott of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said that while the USOC acknowledged “the seriousness of the issues at hand, we strongly oppose the notion that a boycott of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is in our country’s best interests.”
“If there are any lessons to be learned from the American boycott of 1980, it is that Olympic boycotts do not work. Our boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games did not contribute to a successful resolution of the underlying conflict,” Sandusky said. “It did, however, deprive hundreds of American athletes, all whom had completely dedicated themselves to representing our nation at the Olympic Games, of the opportunity of a lifetime.”
He added, “It also deprived millions of Americans of the opportunity to take pride in the achievements of our athletes, and in their dedication and commitment, at a time when we needed it most.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) expressed similar sentiments.