#BTColumn – The Olympians renew the political atmosphere
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by Ociel Ali LÃ³pez
The achievements of Tokyo 2020 have been recognized by even the most prominent radicals on the political spectrum, providing a framework for political dialogue.
Reactions to Venezuela’s good performance in Tokyo 2020 olympics are indicative of the new atmosphere in the country. Venezuela came 47th on the Olympic medal table, followed by Puerto Rico in 63rd place, Colombia in 66th and the Dominican Republic in 68th.
It was the delegation with the best performances and results that the country sent to the Olympic Games, and it was only passed by Brazil, which came in 12th place in the medal table; Cuba, in 14th place; and Ecuador, in 38th place.
How is it that Venezuela, a country accused of having suffered an intense humanitarian crisis, ends up being the fourth best performing nation in the region at Tokyo 2020, ahead of sports powers like Mexico and Argentina, not to mention Colombia, with which it has always been at loggerheads on the sporting level.
Venezuela won a gold medal and three silver medals.
On the other hand, for example, the Chilean delegation did not win any medals. Countries like Peru, Uruguay, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Bolivia, Panama and Paraguay either.
With this comparison, it can be said that Venezuela has become a sporting power in this Olympic cycle, which gives a lesson to governments who until recently called for its intervention due to the âdestructionâ suffered by the country.
A new atmosphere
But the surprise is not limited to the result, but extends to the fervor of unity that this sporting event has produced between the different political tendencies. Years ago, when Venezuelan athlete Yulimar Rojas won, social media and some politicians exploded against her for declaring herself a supporter of Chavez. On this occasion, her achievements at Tokyo 2020 were recognized even by the most prominent radicals, who had to congratulate her and rejoice in her triumph.
Celebration of Venezuelan athlete Julio Mayora
The one that met a lot of resistance was weightlifting silver medalist Julio Mayora, who dedicated his medal to former President Hugo ChÃ¡vez, which sparked hateful reactions against him from some sectors of the world. opposition.
The weightlifter, medal in hand, told President NicolÃ¡s Maduro: âReally, this silver medal is for President Hugo ChÃ¡vez. On social networks, the radicals exploded in the rejection of his statements, but the politicians of the opposition preferred to maintain their support on this occasion for the athlete and celebrated his unexpected success.
After Mayora, two other Venezuelans won silver, BMX cyclist Daniel Dhers and weightlifter Keydomar Vallenilla, then the gold medal from Yulimar Rojas, with his world record included.
These triumphs gave way to the tense atmosphere in what was the first event that brought together all political sectors. This had not been seen in any social or sporting sphere in recent years, as they were always influenced by political interpretations.
The most radical right-wing politicians in exile had to swallow their pride and congratulate the athletes, one by one, and with that they had to accept, even momentarily, that Venezuela is not a scenario in which âmilitary intervention isâ. necessary in order to save hungry Venezuelans.
On this occasion, the results showed that there is a process of depolarization which allows all political parties to celebrate a national victory, even when the protagonists have identified themselves as Chavistas or opponents.
“Let’s stop the intensity with the political subject.”
But what was most interesting in the climate generated by sporting success was the degree of unity and brotherhood with which the Venezuelan people took the news.
It was also very heartwarming the way the victorious Venezuelan athletes spoke of Venezuela, in terms of joy and in a totally positive way. The pitiful speeches about the country were overcome during this
Olympic month, during which politics gave way to sport.
The scene is also auspicious. This month, government and opposition politicians began a roundtable in Mexico, mediated by the host country and the Kingdom of Norway. The meeting also contributes to a less quarrelsome political climate, despite the fact that the economic crisis is still very acute.
The appeal of the Venezuelan Olympic athlete in response to the attacks he received on social media for speaking to Maduro, meanwhile, made it clear what many think about the relationship between sport and politics, especially when the latter always ends up generating a lot of conflict and little union. .
âLet’s stop the intensity with the political subject. We want to do things for Venezuela, regardless of political tendencies.
We have to focus on the new children, on the new generation. It’s about doing things for our society. He added: “We play sports and sport should be neutral.”
The now medalist commented, after the call with the president, and some of the insults he received: âGo on, my brother. I think I was very cordial and whether it came from the government side or the opposition side, as long as it is sport related they can call me, and I don’t have to close the door on who whether they want to do sports related things. “
Beyond the virtual skirmishes, for the first time in years, an atmosphere of cordiality towards the athletes and enthusiasm for each of the participations reigned in Venezuela.
This shows a new post-political climate, which offers an opportunity to strengthen the political negotiations that began in Mexico last week.
Ociel AlÃ LÃ³pez is a sociologist, political analyst and professor at the Universidad Central de Venezuela. He won the Municipal Literature Prize 2015 with his book Dale mÃ¡s gasolina and the Clacso / Asdi prize for young researchers in 2004. He collaborates with various media in Europe, the United States and Latin America.