Can you believe that we are in the season of yet another Olympic Games? We certainly can’t. And with the 2022 Winter Olympics being held in Beijing, China, we can see that tensions continue to rise between countries. In late 2021, the United States announced a diplomatic boycott of the events in response to China’s persecution of Uyghurs. Also, with tennis player Peng Shuai silenced by the Chinese government after accusing a high-ranking government official of sexual assault, it’s only made for more problems with countries sending their own athletes to the nation.
All of this, along with COVID-19 continuing to be a major issue in these Olympics, are leading to a lot of news. So, to hear all about just what is happening with these 2022 Winter Olympics, we’ve rounded up all kinds of episodes talking about the politics and policies floating around the Games. We have episodes about censorship, the boycott, the NHL deciding to use their “out clause,” COVID-19 protocols for athletes and more. Check out these podcasts about the Olympics.
The NPR Politics Podcast
Well, the episode title says it all. This episode of “The NPR Politics Podcast” was released shortly after the United States announced a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics in response to China’s human rights abuses. Hear from a White House correspondent and national and international correspondents on what this means for increasing tensions between the two superpowers.
The Athletic Hockey Show
Also back in December, the NHL and Player Association announced that they have exercised the “out clause” for the 2022 Winter Games. Because of shifts in the NHL season due to COVID, the United States will not have a men’s hockey team in Beijing. This episode of “The Athletic Hockey Show” features a roundtable of reactions to the announcement, from rumors of a World Cup in lieu of the Olympics, to the players who may have lost their chance to become an Olympian.
If you’re going to listen to just one episode from this list, make it this one. “Fault Lines” is a podcast about national security and foreign policy issues from experts in the field. And this episode is no different. Joined by Captain Corey Ray, US Navy, Faculty and Former Chair of the Department of Strategy & Policy, National War College joins to discuss sports diplomacy. Captain Ray teaches a course specifically about the intersection of politics and sports, saying that there is no removing one from the other. It’s a fascinating episode about two topics that people often try to separate, saying “shut up and dribble,” when in reality, there is so much more to professional sports than the game.
The Real Story
“The Real Story” is a BBC podcast where global experts and decision makers discuss and analyze pivotal news stories. This episode, “The Beijing Winter Olympics: High stakes for China,” from January 7, 2022, is asking what success will look like for the Beijing Olympics. Between the effectiveness of COVID protocols and the diplomatic boycott from the United States and some of its allies, will this take a toll on the event’s credibility? Listen to this in-depth episode for everything you need to know about this year’s Games.
The GIST of It
While COVID-19 is obviously a concern for the Games, another major concern heading into the Olympics is censorship in China. This episode of “The GIST of It” looks at both problems, including the mysterious disappearance (and relieving re-appearance) of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai. After she accused a high-ranking government official of sexual assault on social media, her post was quickly taken down, and her name and even the word “tennis” were briefly blocked by Chinese censors. The IOC has announced that Olympians will be given special SIM cards allowing them uncensored access to the internet as China continues to ramp up their digital firewall. Hear more of this story in this episode.
Q & A, Hosted by Jay Nordlinger
“Q & A, Hosted by Jay Nordlinger” is dedicated to the most important issues of today, and this episode is focused on China. Sitting down with Professor of East Asian studies and China scholar Perry Link, the two talk about the U.S. boycott of the games, if a diplomatic boycott is enough, and what happened to Peng Shuai (and what should people do about it). They also discuss Elon Musk doing business in the Xinjiang Province where Uyghurs are being persecuted in work camps. At the end, Jay and Link discuss Chinese culture, which the professor has dedicated much of his life to.
TIME’s The Brief
Included in this episode of “TIME’s The Brief” is a story about how all 200+ athletes headed to the Olympic Games are vaccinated against COVID-19. Team USA’s top doctor said that all their athletes have been fully vaccinated, which means they will not have anyone doing at 21-day quarantine before the Games, as is IOC protocol. For the Summer Games, over 100 of the 600 athletes were unvaccinated, but the US Olympic and Paralympic Committees have been providing education on the COVID-19 vaccine to their athletes.