Local Reaction To The Olympic Flame Protests

By: Danielle Saar Email
By: Danielle Saar Email

Violent protests and demonstrations around the world put an end to the final leg of the Olympic torch relay through Paris.

Since 1928, the Olympic flame has been a symbol of peace. The games, a gathering of athletes from all over the world--in search of one common goal.

Now, chaotic protests against China's human rights record have forced the peaceful flame to burn out.

"This is deja vu," says Rowdy Gaines, local three-time Olympic gold medalist in swimming.

Gaines was supposed to compete in the '80 Olympics, but the U.S. team never saw the Olympic stadium.

President Jimmy Carter decided to boycott the games because of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.

"So the same sort of symbolism happened 28 years ago for me," says Gaines.

Gaines says history has taught him that protests and boycotts of the Olympics are not the way to go.

"What they're doing with the flame is not going to have an effect on what the Chinese are doing in Tibet," he says.

And he says the protests won't have an effect on the games in Beijing.

"The Chinese don't care because they're still going to put on Olympic games, just like the Soviets did in 1980."

Gaines understands the reasons for the protests, but says there's a better way to protest.

In the meantime, protesters continue waving signs, but the games will go on, just like they did in 1984, where Gaines won his three gold medals.

The next stop for the torch is this Wednesday in San Francisco, where more protests are planned.


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