The Argentine Olympic Committee has responded for the first time to an advertisement on state-run TV that links a dispute with Britain about the Falklands/Malvinas Islands to the London Games.
Argentine Olympic committee president Gerardo Werthein said in a statement on Tuesday -that using the games as a platform for political gestures is not acceptable but defends the right to freedom of speech for his athletes.
The Argentine National Olympic Committee is fully committed to the Olympic Charter and the best practices of the Olympic movement, said Werthein,
The International Olympic Committee denounced the ad last week, saying the Olympics should not be a forum for political issues and “the IOC regrets any attempts to use the spotlight of the games for that end”.
“The IOC has always striven to separate sport from politics and honour the spirit of the games and all those who take part,” the IOC statement said.
The state-supported advertisement, that was branded by Britain as tasteless and insulting shows Argentine field-hockey captain Fernando Zylberberg training in the disputed Falklands.
Precisely the first reactions came from the Falklands’ elected government describing the advert as a piece of “cheap and disrespectful propaganda”
In her first public statement on the issue, Argentina President Cristina Fernández defended the ad on Monday and said creativity cannot be censored and applauded the piece.
CFK went further and described the advert as an excellent message made by an Argentine working for an English agency, which “comes to show that the English also need to come to us for creativity”
The ad first ran last week and is still being shown on state-run TV.
Last week the agency that created the advertisement condemned its own commercial. Advertising agency Young & Rubicam apologized for the ad created by its branch in Argentina, saying the spot was deeply offensive to people around the world and to the Olympic spirit.
“We strongly condemn this work and have asked the Argentine government to pull the spot,” it said in a statement Friday, adding that the ad's creators “behaved in a manner that is unacceptable” to the company.
The AOC president belongs to a very rich Argentine Jewish family with interests in finance, insurance, agriculture and communications and is known to have political aspirations. Among his merits for the post was the fact he financed the Argentine Olympic quarters in Beijing 2008.