“Observe your commitment to this Olympic Truce,” International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach beseeched the international community at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. “Give peace a chance,” writes the AP.

Whether echoing John Lennon or not, it’s a plea that has been issued time and time again to little avail — an apparent exercise in futility. As the Games unfold against the backdrop of heightened tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine, even Bach himself had palpably distanced the IOC from the Olympic Truce in the runup to the opening ceremony. “We can only appeal: ‘Please respect your own commitment,’” he said at a Feb. 3 press conference where he labelled the U.N. resolution merely a “highly symbolic act.” “We can only go so far and say: ‘Please do not touch the Games.’”

Every two years, the host country of the upcoming Olympics introduces a U.N. resolution that other member states can co-sponsor. The truce is intended to secure safe passage for athletes during the Games and, in the long term, promote the idea of working toward world peace. A U.N. resolution upholding the Olympic Truce has been passed 15 times. The continuous renewal each Olympics is based in the idealism that undergirds the modern Games and perhaps international law in general: It’s aspirational.

Just what is the Olympic Truce? And what role does it have to play on the rickety stage of international affairs?

Read more

© Copyright LaPresse