Alum’s interest in Darfur heightened by Beijing games ban

Chris Boyles ′02
Marketing major
Residing in 
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

A decision by the Chinese government to revoke Chris Boyles’ travel visa just days prior to his departure for the Beijing Olympics gained international attention as well as heightened the Messiah College graduate’s commitment to Team Darfur—
—a global coalition of athletes attempting to raise awareness about human rights violations in Darfur, Sudan.

Boyles, ’02, a world class decathlete who has competed in 15 countries, planned to attend the Olympics not as an athlete—an ankle injury forced him to withdraw from the qualifying trials—but as a journalist/photographer for Dr. Curt Draeger, a prominent sports physician. Then, just days before leaving, Chinese officials revoked his visa “for reasons undisclosed.” Boyles, as well as four other athletes whose visas also were revoked—including 2006 U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist and Team Darfur co-founder Joey Cheek—believes the Chinese government may consider his association with Team Darfur controversial.

“I joined Team Darfur a few months earlier and signed my name to ‘An Open Letter to the Government of the People’s Republic of China,’ pleading for China to take action against the human destruction that’s taking place in Darfur,” said Boyles.

Boyles now speaks on behalf of Team Darfur. “I am certain that the crises in Darfur received more media attention because Joey, I and the other athletes were denied entry into China. While I am saddened that I was unable to be a part of the Olympic Games, I am confident that my voice here [United States] will resonate louder than it would have in the Olympic Stadium. We can be amazing ambassadors for the Lord simply by how we face adversity and respond to life’s road blocks.”

To learn more about Chris Boyles, a Messiah College seven-time All American track and field athlete and All American soccer goalkeeper for the 2000 national championship, visit

Posted in 2002, Alumni, Athletics, Marketing | Comments Off

Posted on October 6th, 2008

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