Should I base my participation in triathlon events on the political status and happenings of a country I would probably not find myself racing too often. I chose to focus solely on what I feel is good for the sport of triathlon. On that basis I feel it is right for me to have raced in Bahrain. I'll not go any further into this issue.
Congratulations on your recent successes and your future celebrations.
Re - Politics of the host nation - your response is perfect, and should once and for all, silence any critic of those that do chose to participate.
I really don't understand how anyone might think that. She doesn't the address the main issue at all: this isn't just a general politics issue, this is more specifically about the person bankrolling the event who is accused by multiple sources of being personally involved in torture of pro-democracy activists. This isn't simply like doing a race in Apartheid South Africa, it's like doing one organised by the security police and with the cheques presented by Hendrik Verwoerd and Eugene De Kock. You might like to contrast this response with, for example, the vitriol that's directed towards Brett Sutton every time his name is mentioned here: the crimes that Sheikh Nasser is accused of are at least of the same magnitude as Sutton's, far more recent and have gone unpunished. Secondly, simply avoiding these issues is a complete cop-out: from the response above I assume that she would be happy to race in Apartheid South Africa or North Korea. Not too nice really.
Of course, she's had a lovely time, been treated like a rock star, won the race and made a load of cash so it's going to be difficult for her to deal with that, so the easiest thing is just to produce a bland and fairly meaningless response and ignore the issue.
I think the distinction you make between the morality of individuals versus governments is fairly arbitrary. A person who works for a government has agency, which means they have a choice whether or not to do that work. The pros and cons they face in different countries may differ but they have agency nonetheless. With choice comes moral culpability. So while your distinction between the culpability of the government of Bahrain and the government of South Africa may stand up to your subjective scrutiny, I think it is far from being a universal truth. Further, you present a neat binary categorisation of individual power versus institutional power. I don't think this is the place to bang on about the naiveté of that categorisation, but suffice to say that that's not how institutions work.
So, Bahrain is not a special case, distinct from other countries with policies with which a person might agree or disagree. And every time a person travels to another country, they pay taxes to the government of that country, which is a tacit (or perhaps not so tacit) endorsement of those policies. Am I responsible for propagating what some people see as an abhorrent war in Iraq, because I paid sales tax in NYC? Maybe. Am I responsible for the illegal detention of prisoners in Afghanistan, because I didn't withhold my taxes in the UK? Maybe. But maybe not.
In addition, while the argument for avoiding a country based on its politics or policies is valid one, so is that of engagement. Avoidance is a form of sanction and the question of whether or not sanctions work is entirely up for grabs. Iran, Myanmar and Cuba - they can be used to support either argument.
Perhaps we all could do more. Perhaps Helle could and I could and you could too. But for you to tell anybody what impact they caused by racing in Bahrain, or tell them they're not a nice person, or tell them that their response is a cop out - well, that seems a little off.