Syrian Athletes Allowed to Compete in 2012 Olympics

July 25, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. permit (v.) 
[per-mit] – to allow someone to do something
Example: The officials will permit the fans to get autographs from the athlete.

2. chaotic (adj.) [key-ot-ik] – having much confusion and disorder
Example: The chaotic fighting within the nation decreased tourism significantly.

3. disqualified (adj.) [dis-kwol-uh-fahy] – prohibited to join something because of failure to meet certain standards
Example: Athletes who have not won in any competition are disqualified from the Olympics.

4. regime (n.) [ruh-zheem, rey-, or, sometimes, -jeem] – a system of government or administration
Example: Many Syrians are not happy with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

5. atrocity (n.) [uh-tros-i-tee] – a very bad crime or action
Example: Syrians have witnessed a lot of atrocities, as civil war continues in their country.

Read the text below.

At a press conference in London, UK’s prime minister David Cameron announced that Syrian athletes are permitted to compete in the London Olympics. However, Syrian government officials will not be allowed to attend the event.

Cameron said it is only right to permit Syrian athletes to take part because they should not be punished for what is happening in their chaotic country.

In an earlier interview, Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) revealed that six to eight athletes from Syria met the standards to participate in the Olympics, although Syrian athletes who are connected in any way to war crimes will be disqualified.

In addition, Rogge said the IOC is cooperating with the UN to confirm who are involved in the Syrian atrocities.

Syria has been experiencing a series of bloody conflicts between President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and rebels since March 2011. An estimated 9,000 people have been killed since then, according to a report by the United Nations (UN).

The Syrian government also did not keep its promise to follow a peace plan, causing much disapproval from the international community.

The UK prime minister added that Britain has been leading the European Union in setting up penalties against members of the Syrian government. One such penalty is that people connected to the Syrian government cannot travel to the UK and other countries.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with the IOC decision to allow Syrian athletes to compete? Why or why not?
·         Should athletes be involved in government politics? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         Why do you think people enjoy international sports competitions?
·         How do you think being part of international sports events can help a troubled country?


July 25, 2012