August 11, 2008
HIV-Positive? No Olympics For You!

SUBMITTED BY XORN SMITH: So the Olympics have started. Excited?

Yeah, me neither. To be honest, the last time I caught Olympic fever I could count how old I was on two hands. It was the winter of 1980 and the US hockey team was the underdog to the big bad Soviet Red Army team. (Yes, they actually called it that.)

And it wasn’t just our hockey team that was poorly thought of. America in general didn’t fair too well in the seventies and no one expected much from it — on the world stage or at the Olympics.

So rooting for our hockey team felt good, magical, and thrilling. It was amazing when they won.

But like everything else, a good thing became kinda not so good. The “U-S-A! U-S-A!” chant that echoed out of Lake Placid lost its defiant underdog status and quickly became the embodiment of jingoism. The next twenty-eight years of Olympics would see America cycle between either being disproportionately self-flagellating when we didn’t excel (see Men’s Basketball) or obnoxiously overbearing when we did (see Men’s Basketball).

And for me the games rapidly lost interest, starting in 1984 when the East Bloc boycotted the LA Olympics and the US team won pretty much everything. Like twice. Seriously.

Sure, I made myself jerk off to Mary Lou Retton at least once a day as a show of private solidarity — but without the communist countries, the games felt like, well, masturbation on a grander scale.

The well-fed, exhaustively trained American runner trounced the part-time farmer from Zimbabwe with one leg? Didn’t see that coming.

The Americans really creamed the Portuguese in boxing? Guess they took the bus from Lisbon for nothing.

The Irish couldn’t cover the spread against us in water polo? Well, shit.

And so on.

Thus, despite my strange fascination with the Water Cube, I was blissfully intent on completely ignoring the Beijing games when this little article caught my eye.

Apparently, if you’re HIV positive, there will be no Summer Games for you. Yep, the Chinese won’t let you in.

Now in fairness to the Chinese, they’re having a world of difficulty living in denial about their own HIV-AIDS epidemic, so I guess I can understand how they don’t want any additional folks with HIV coming in straining their capacity for ignoring reality — or you know forcing them to consider the possibility that because you’re HIV-positive, you’re not the equivalent of a rat in fourteenth-century Europe.

And it seems the international community is all OK with this, which is too bad because the UN did step up the plate and force China to admit those with leprosy.

Just not, you know, HIV. (I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions on that.)

But take heart, it’s not just those with HIV that are banned from participating in “One World, One Dream.” You also can’t enjoy the Olympics if you have a mental illness!

That’s right, if you’re depressed there’s nothing in the Summer Games to cheer you up. China doesn’t want you either. Which really sucks because I had my heart set on seeing some live badminton but I still haven’t figured out how to leave my dysthymia at home.

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FILED UNDER : , , Xorn Smith


  • Isil says :

    Hey, easy on the chinese gov!. They just dont want rare hiv genes messing up their own biowarfare stock. Hope they also screening every single person going in with expensive p24 tests, otherwise its not really logical.

  • Ruth @ Explorers Blog says :

    I’ve heard of this happening in other countries, too. It’s interesting that they’re providing 100,000 condoms to athletes yet pulling this crap with tourists.

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Monica Shores