Telo Tulku Rinpoche, Honorary representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Russia, Mongolia and CIS countries attended the 2018 Winter Olympic in PyeongChang, South Korea.
“In 2014 I was invited to attend the opening ceremony in Sochi, Russia as a VIP guest and my name with passport details was submitted for the credential purposes but, my name was excluded because the Chinese President was attending the opening ceremony in Sochi and therefore being a VIP guest would mean I would be seating close to Chinese president or in the same building as Xi Jinping and they (Russia) probably saw it as a threat and denied my credentials. Not only did Russia deny my credentials but I was forbidden to attend any games even as a spectator,” Telo Rinpoche said.
“But that was in 2014. Here we are 4 years later in PyeongChang, South Korea, again I was invited to attend the Opening ceremony and a special guest and also attend some of the Olympic games. As I left my office to head to airport, I would say there was really not much excitement or feeling as I saw it as another long flight,” he added.
“On the 9th of Feb, there was a few competitions that begin even before the opening ceremony took place. As I enter the grounds of the Olympic square, I was filled with excitement as any other spectator and then I enter the hall and see the rows of flags of the free nations, I felt a deep sadness in my heart. Because the Tibet flag is not up with the rest of the flags and may never be up there. Never the less. I was prepared just in case the Olympic committee needed a Tibet Flag. I pulled out The Tibet flag and started to wave and cheer for the athletes and scream and shout in support with the rest of the spectators. No one ever came to me and said the Tibet Flag is forbidden or not allowed. Nor was I removed, arrested, detained or interrogated,” Rinpoche explained.
“While watching the games, my mind was running wild with imaginations such as: “What if the Winter games where held in Tibet?” Why not, we have the mountains and the perfect weather for winter games. “What kind of sportsmen and women would Tibet produce.” I am sure we would win a lot of medals because of training in the high altitude and eating organic Tsampa. Everyone would visit from all parts of the world to learn about its rich culture heritage. Will this ever happen? In reality it may not, but, nothing wrong to be optimistic and dream big for Tibet and this is exactly what I did,” he recalled.
“I looked around to see if there might be any other Tibet Flags but did not see any. But it is OK as I was there to represent the people of Tibet and stand in solidarity and dream for the Tibetans inside and outside of Tibet.”
“There were few spectators as well as Chinese sitting close by or passed by while I was hoisting the lone Tibet Flag, and no one gave me any dirty looks. People smiled and there were few spectators who even asked me which country is the flag represent. And I would say with pride “TIBET” and they would say “WOW” It seems there were familiar with Tibet and its issues and many said to me good luck as if there were athletes from Tibet at the 2018 winter Olympics.”
“The opening ceremony began in the evening and cold winter made the temperature colder than it actually was. I kept thinking, “Is Tibet this cold and windy?” I am sure it is much colder and windy in some regions. As the show begin and the Koreans started to perform tradition dances and contemporary dances. I again started to Imagine that a winter Olympic being held in Lhasa and in the newly built stadium-built stadium with Tibetan architect and design. Dances from all 3 provinces of Tibet. What a show it would be. Imagine the Tashi Sholpa performed by thousands of Tibetan school children during the opening of the winter Olympics. The Koreans have a drum dance, The Tibetan also have a drum dance called the Relpa. One of my favorite. What a show it would be to see thousands of Tibetans performing the Relpa dance beating the drums and Rocking the winter Olympics.”
“In trance of the wild imaginative state I was in or meditative state I like to say, I pull out my Tibet Flag and wave it and celebrate with the other spectators and celebrate with the rest of the world in peace, harmony and full of hope and dreams like any athlete with the hope and dream to win a medal. My hope and dream are to see a winter Olympic games being held in Tibet. I request you to watch the short clip below and imagine and dream with me as you will see the Tibet Flag waving the 2018 Winter Olympics stadium.”
“As I leave PyeongChang to fly back to my office, I passed my small flag to a couple of strangers and requested them to take this to every competition and wave the flag.”
“To my surprise, they immediately said, “we were waiving the same Tibet flag with fellow Tibetans in 2016 at a Rally in Europe”. Knowing they are strangers whom I never met or talked to and by coincidence the Tibet Flag is handed to next bearer, I know the sun on the Tibet Flag will continue to shine on the ongoing 2018 Winter Olympics,”Telo Rinpoche said.
- Report filed by Office of Tibet, Moscow –