February 1, 2014
The XXII Winter Olympics are scheduled for February 7th to the 23rd, 2014, to be held in the Russian city of Sochi, on the Black Sea. There are athletes from 88 nations participating.
This is the first Olympics to be held in Russia after the breakup of the U.S.S.R. and the first Winter Olympics to be held in Russia.
Sochi is the warmest city to host a Winter Olympics, and the games are already turning out to be quite expensive. In fact, cost estimates put the 2014 Olympics as being more expensive than the 21 previous winter Olympics put together!
The Winter Olympics are held very four years. The 2010 Olympics were held in Vancouver, Canada. The 2018 Olympics are scheduled to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Note that the Winter Olympics are held two years after and before the Summer Olympics.
The Olympics, both winter and summer, are great sportsfests in which all the world puts aside politics and cheers on the noble athletes coming together. The only considerations are peace and the Olympic motto of Citius (faster), Altius (higher) and Fortius (stronger).
If you believe that, I have some oceanfront property in Nebraska to sell you.
The Olympics are fraught with controversy, political maneuvering, corruption and sometimes violence.
And that includes the Winter Olympics.
This year, there are several controversial issues related to the Sochi Olympics.
The nation of Georgia has protested the location of the games, as the city of Sochi is less than 20 miles from Abhkazia, which is claimed by Georgia.
The Circassian ethnicity once dwelt in the region of Sochi until they were mostly driven out in the 19th -century Russian-Circassian conflict. Some Circassians have called for a cancellation of the Sochi Olympics unless Russia apologizes, others have called for the inclusion of elements of Circassian culture in the games.
There was even a controversy over the Sochi Olympics mascots. In the official online poll, a frog won, but was excluded from the group of mascots, which includes a polar bear, a European hare and an Amur leopard.
The threat of terrorism at the Olympics is very prominent. The Islamic group Vilayat Dagestan has threatened the games and has claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in nearby Volgograd this past year. Therefore, security is very tight. Russian Leader Vladimir Putin has pledged “the safest Olympics in history”. Let’s hope he doesn’t have to eat those words.
Gay rights activists have harshly criticized Russia for its recent legislation banning homosexual propaganda directed toward minors. This legislation was unanimously passed by the Russian Parliament (the Duma) and signed by President Putin.
This of course has been strongly criticized in the West, where homosexuality is now glorified and its critics are the ones who are in trouble. As a result, there has been talk of having the U.S. Olympic team brandish an LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,Transgender) “Rainbow Flag” when they march into the opening ceremonies. (Isn’t the Olympic team supposed to represent all Americans?) Hopefully that won’t happen.
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President Obama does not plan to attend the Olympics, possibly as an anti-Russian protest over the homosexual propaganda law. Hopefully, the LGBT controversy will not dominate the games.
In conclusion, there is plenty of conflict and controversy related to this year’s Winter Olympics.
Nevertheless, for fans of winter sports, there should be some good action in the actual events. So if you like winter sports, heat up some coffee or hot chocolate and get ready to watch the games!
© 2014 Allan Wall - All Rights Reserved
Allan Wall recently returned to the U.S. after residing many years in Mexico.