Athletes for Peace: Open Letter to the U.S. Olympic Committee

PyeongChang 2018 The XXIII Olympic Winter Games, PyeongChang 2018, is a major international multi-sport event scheduled to take place in February and March next year in Gangwon Province (Pyeongchang County), South Korea. The Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will be held in Korea for the first time in 30 years after the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988. IOC photo/Chung Sung-Jun

The 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, offer a unique moment to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula. In November 2017, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for an Olympic Truce, or a cessation of hostilities during the Winter Games, which gained the support of 157 Member States including both Koreas and future hosts of the Olympic Games: Japan, China, France and the United States.

As former and current atheltes, we value the Olympic spirit and tradition of bringing men and women from diverse nations together for peaceful competition and performance. The Olympic Truce represents an important opportunity to defuse tensions and begin the work of reconciliation on the Korean peninsula. We therefore call upon the US Olympic Committee to fully support both Korean governments’ current efforts to restore a peace process.

We in the United States have a special responsibility to demand diplomacy, not war, with North Korea. Let us firmly take hold of the opportunity provided by these winter Olympics to bring this long standing, dangerous and damaging conflict to a peaceful and positive resolution.

Athletes for Peace is initiated by Massaschusetts Peace Action and we invite all peace-loving organizations to cosponsor it with us and participate in a coordinating committee.  Sign the Open Letter at bit.ly/athletes-for-peace-sign!

Signers (as of Feb. 5, 2018)

  • Jonathan King, Yale Crew, 1958 – 1960; James Madison H.S. Football, 1956-1958
  • Caitlin Forbes, Captain of Varsity Alpine Ski Team, Saint Anselm College, 2010-13.  First Team All American Combined, SL and GS
  • Andrew King, Mens Soccer, Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School, 2004-07
  • Kevin Martin, Men’s Baskeball and Volleyball, Manheim Twp. HS, Neffsville, PA 1977 – 1980
  • Joseph Boyd Poindexter, Harvard University Ski Team Captain, 1957
  • Jessica Quindel, Volleyball, Basketball, Soccer, Riverside High School, Milwaukee, WI 1994-1998
  • Jeff Brummer, Cushing Academy: Ski team captain, 1961- 62; Tennis team captain, 1961- 62
  • Tarak Kauff, Marathon Runner 1974 – 89, Professional boxer
  • Patrick Hiller, Columbia Gorge Tri Club, Triathlon, 2011-present
  • Ernest Goitein, Swim team, Stevens Institute of Technology, 1950,
  • William H Warricl III MD, HS and College Golf Team 1961-1966
  • Kenneth E. Mayers, Woodmere Academy, Football Co-Captain 1953; Princeton University Lightweight Crew, 1955-58
  • Christopher Spicer-Hankle, Cross Country, Santa Clara University 2004-06; Bishop Blanchet High (Seattle), Co-Captain 2000
  • Ann Wright, 1965 Arkansas State Collegiate Singles Tennis champion, 1980 Winter Olympic Games Announcer for the Luge competition, Lake Placid, New York
  • John Raby, football and basketball at Dwight-Englewood School,, Englewood, NJ, 1959-61; boys varsity cross-country coach at the Pingry School, Bernards Township, NJ, 1995-2009: 128-22 won-loss record, five conference championships, seven all-state prep championships, three all-state group championships; distance runner, 5k to marathon; frequent age group winner in local and statewide races; ran in two Boston Marathons, 2008 and 2012
  • Marcus Christian Hansen, Wrestling, Track, Jefferson HS
  • Brenton Stoddart, Allegheny College Men’s Soccer, 2012-2015, Captain 2015
  • Blase Bonpane, Ph.d., Football USC 1947 Football, Boxing Loyola High, Los Angeles CIF Championship
  • Shirley Hoak, College Basketball & Tennis 1971-73 Shippensburg State, PA
  • Jacqueline Rogers Ceary, Basketball, Cathedral High School, Boston, 1962-65
  • Chuck Weed, US Disabled Ski Team 1984, 1986; 4 way skiing Middlebury; ski/soccer coach 1965-1966 Northwood School
  • Ellora Derenoncourt, Junior Varsity Tennis, Chadwick School, 2003-4
  • Sally Jones, Port Jefferson High School Girls Volleyball, Basketball, Field Hockey 1963-1966
  • John Chadwick, Bellingham, WA, baseball
  • Lynn Shoemaker, Whitewater, WI, football, basketball, track
  • Bernard Herberholt, University of Washington Crew, 2000-2002
  • Dr Ken Lipner, Fla Baseball, football
  • Kenneth Kohler, Salt Lake City, UT, Volleyball
  • Aicha Ben Dhia, Cambridge MA, Soccer, 2014-2017
  • Ed Marakovitz, East Paterson HS, 1957-1961: Varsity Basketball, Co-Captain; Varsity Track, Co-Captain. Siena College, 1962-1965: Varsity Basketball, Club Lacrosse
  • Steve Books, Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, Track and Field, Cross Country. High School (1 year) and College (4 years)
  • Daniel Mirsky, Arlington, Ma, Lacrosse in hs, college, beyond
  • Rose Wetzel, Cross Country/Track & Field at Bishop Blanchet High School (1996-2000) and Georgetown University (2000-2004), Professional Obstacle Course Racer and American Ninja Warrior Finalist, 2015-current 
  • Lois Durso, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania , High school field hockey 
  • John Chadwick, Bellingham, WA, baseball ; pitched a no-hitter
  • Greg Laxer, Connecticut, Technical Official, Weightlifting 
  • Bunny Daubner, Bristol, Vermont, biking, skiing, ice skating 
  • John Schaefer, Arcata, California, cross country, pistol team
  • Frank J. Gage, Buffalo, New York, Softball, Four Stallions 1969 to 1979
  • Alanna Richards, Santa Barbara, California, Westmont College soccer (2014-2017), high school soccer (2010-2014), volleyball (2010-2012), and softball (2010-2012), soccer captain, All-American Honorable Mention (2017), United Soccer Coaches NAIA All-Region (2018), GSAC All-Conference Team (2015, 2017) 
  • Lee Liddle, Fresno, CA, baseball, softball
  • Paul Larudee, El Cerrito, CA, Cross country, track and field, gymnastics
  • Leonard Eiger, Water Polo, Lacrosse
  • Art Felsinger, Tempe, AZ, Motorcycle racing
  • Daniel Gilman, Seattle, WA, Basketball, track
  • Carolyn Barkow, San Diego, California, tennis 
  • Robert Keilbach, Flushing, NY, Football, Softball, Volleyball, Tennis, Golf
  • Norma Mahns, Oak Grove, MO, High School Track
  • John E Wilks, III, Winston, New Mexico, Rifle marskmanship

Activites in support of the Open Letter:

Contact your alumni associaton and invite other former or current student athletes to sign the Open Letter, and forward to their former teammates, friends and acquiantenances.

In addition we call on groups and individuals to organize actions or other events in your communities., during the Winter Olympics (February 9 – 25) and Paralympics (March 9 – 18), as well as the broader period of the Olympic Truce (February 2 to March 23).

These could include:

  • Olympic watch parties — gather friends and family in your home or a community venue to celebrate the Olympics. Add a dollop of Korean culture and cuisine, and call for peace and diplomacy. Invite your local NBC-TV affiliate (the television network of the Olympics) to cover your gathering for the local news. Watch parties can be great social media events as well. Athletes and Korean-Americans should be the main spokespeople.
  • Building Congressional pressure, both in-district and in Washington, DC. Call-in Days, in-district congressional visits, high-level delegations or sign-on letters to Members of Congress calling on them to use the Olympic Truce as an opportunity to stand for diplomacy and continue to suspend U.S.-South Korea war drills, through public statements and support for pro-diplomacy legislation, including asserting Congressional powers over war and peace, and particularly any decision to use nuclear weapons.
  • Media coverage and social media promotion (utilizing FaceBook and Twitter memes and actions, Thunderclap, Instagram and other platforms) calling for diplomacy and peace. Use the Olympic Truce as a “hook” for Letters to Editor and Op-eds.
  • Teach-ins, webinars, and other types of educational events, supported by fact sheets, articles, videos and podcasts. Korean-American voices need to be front and center.
  • Film Screening:  Games of Their Lives is a stunning, exciting, humanizing, sports-fan-enthusiast film by British makers Dan Gordon and Nick Bonner.  In 1966, DPRK won a birth at the World Cup held in England. The story of the players, how they got there, how they were received at the height of the Cold War, the drama of the games, the totally unexpected embrace by the city of Middlesborough, and what became of the team over the years – is absolutely gripping.  
    The film is 1 hr 20 minutes.  You can preview the full film on Youtube here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG-ivV-ps50   It puts a very human face on
    North Korea. Contact Ramsay Liem c/o Massachusetts Peace Action. Related links: 
    http://www.verymuchso.co.uk/the-game-of-their-lives
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG-ivV-ps50
  • Vigils for peace, public protests where appropriate, visibility actions.
  • Petition-gathering and support for the People’s Peace Treaty.
  • Other engaging and fun, movement-building events around the Winter Olympics. Please share your good ideas

Contact: Massachusetts Peace Action, info@masspeaceaction.org, 617-354-2169