With the 2014 Olympic Games set to open on February 7 in Sochi, Russia I wonder if the Russians are stating to regret the whole thing as it appears they are going to be in for a rough time. I’m not referring to the actual games and competitions, which should be the focus of the world and in which I have no doubt Russian athletes will perform well. I mean the political and terrorist sideshow that unfortunately comes along with the modern games.
As I write this a second suicide bomber has cost more lives – that’s two in two days – and is sending a clear message that if people are willing to blow themselves up the chances of stopping the bombing are greatly reduced. Security at the Sochi games will become the main event which is a sad reflection on our society.
Throw words and representatives at each other all you want, but please let the athletes compete, and fans watch, in a safe environment.
But it’s not just terrorist threats that the Russians have to deal with; the diplomatic ‘games’ are already well under way. The recent release from jail of government critics and punk rockers Pussy Riot has backfired. The girls are more vocal than ever and have pointed out to the world their release was a mere pre-games attempt to look better in the eyes of the world. Perhaps this sort of thing worked in the days before mass media and the Internet, but today it just looks silly.
In another very pointed diplomatic move, the United States is filling its Olympic Team delegation with many gay athletes including Billie Jean King, Brian Boitano and openly gay hockey player Caitlin Cahow. Aside from its anti-gay laws, the US is irked with Russia over the Edward Snowden affair and is snubbing the host by not sending a member of President Barack Obama’s family or an active Cabinet secretary to the games.
I certainly hope that if we must have bickering and back-biting, and if there are some who will try to use the games as a worldwide stage to advance their cause it stays in the political and diplomatic realm. Throw words and representatives at each other all you want, but please let the athletes compete, and fans watch, in a safe environment.