The Chinese Soviet has responded to the no-officials gesture with classic Warsaw-it-from-a-mile maturity — ‘We didn’t even invite them!’ The 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics was the big boy of boycotts — the US didn’t send their athletes. If the original Evil Empire was what made Reaganite America take its ‘won’t play, hombre’ stand, this time around, it’s for Evil Empire 2.0’s ‘human rights abuses’. Back in the USSR, the Soviets returned the 1980 gesture the next Olympic by boycotting the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
Unfortunately, the 2026 Winter Games will not be in the US (it will be in Italy). So, no chance for a yin-yang tit-for-tat from the Chinese. But one thing is for sure — no mascot can match Misha the (Russian) bear, mascot of the 1980 Olympics. Not even Bing Dwen Dwen, the other bear (panda) who’s the Beijing mascot.