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7 Dec, 2021 11:01

‘The US is a cancer of the earth’: Olympic icon hails ‘holiday for world’ after Beijing boycott

‘The US is a cancer of the earth’: Olympic icon hails ‘holiday for world’ after Beijing boycott

One of the greatest biathletes ever has hailed the news that the US will be boycotting the Beijing Olympics, accusing America of causing "blood and trouble" and claiming its absence will ensure a peaceful, scandal-free Games.

Four-time Olympic champion Alexander Tikhonov has not held back following the announcement by the Biden administration on Monday that it will be conducting a diplomatic boycott of the Games in China in February.

The US cited “crimes against humanity” and human rights abuses targeting ethnic and religious minorities in China’s Xinjiang province as the key reasons for its absence of an ambassadorial presence at the Games, although its athletes will compete.

"The diplomatic boycott of the Games by the Americans is a holiday for the rest of the world," six-time world champion Tikhonov insisted to RIA.

"The United States is the most painful place on earth; its cancer. Look how much blood and trouble they have [caused].

"It's great that their officials will not be at the Olympics. I hope, thanks to this, the games will be held peacefully and without scandals."

While numerous countries and dozens of campaigning groups are backing the US decision, other nations have said they will continue to consider whether they will follow suit in carrying out a boycott.

Japan is one of those countries – and Tikhonov, 74, is not impressed at the prospect of their potential boycott.

"The example of the Americans can be followed by the authorities of other countries, including Japan?" he asked.

"They are surprising, of course. After the Americans bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki [during World War II], they managed to take their side. Japan is famous for its talented people, but in this matter they got very lost."

Russian president Vladimir Putin has said he plans to be at the opening ceremony at the invitation of Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

The Russian foreign ministry also criticized the decision long before it was confirmed, with a spokesperson describing the willingness of the US to carry out boycotts as a "disease".

The Russian Olympic Committee has called the move "counterproductive" and suggested that there is no provision in the Olympic Charter for boycotts.