It’s time for the Olympics yet again and as per usual, the media has been loaded with Olympic hype. This year, however, most of the stories have been more focused on Big Bad Russia, rather than spreading love for Team USA. Everyone seems so caught up in hating Russia, that they’ve forgotten to get stoked to watch the United States kick some ass.
Media outlets across the US and Europe have been pumping out stories like ’15 signs that Russia is not very ready for the Olympics,’ and ‘Winter Olympics a showcase for one man: Vladimir Putin.’ In the weeks leading up to the games I read only two or three articles about the athletes, where as articles like the ones I just mentioned seemed to pop up every 20 minutes.
I was watching the opening ceremonies last night at a bar, chatting with this couple sitting next to me. They chuckled at the names of the countries they didn’t know, hooted when a member of the Austrian team fell down, and seemed offended when NBC reporter Matt Lauer announced that one of the athletes carrying the torch was, “involved in a relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin.”
However the most bizarre thing I heard came after the fifth Olympic snowflake failed to convert into a ring. The young woman on my right turned to her fiancé and said, “I bet whoever was in charge of that is going to end up dead tonight. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if they already are.”
Have we really been force-fed so many negative images of Russia in weeks leading up to the 2014 Winter Games that we’ve come to assume that a person who made a mistake is going to be killed? While I’ll agree Putin is a narcissistic homophobe, I think that the flak he and his country have taken in last few weeks has been over the top and against everything the Games are supposed to represent.
Citing problems like “the Olympic flame went out 44 times,” and “there may be loose terrorists,” as reasons for why Russia is not ready to host the Olympics is absurd. That’s like saying it’s Russia’s fault that wind exists and there are bad people in the world…
The Olympic Spirit is supposed to be about “building a peaceful and better world… which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”
We definitely haven’t seen that yet. Instead of focusing so much negative energy on Russia, let’s get some positive vibes going out to our athletes. As Tanner Hall once said, “HATERS= HAVING ANGER TOWARDS EVERYONE REACHING SUCCESS.” Is everyone just worried that Russia might put on a better show than we did in 2002? When it comes down to it, does it even really matter what country is hosting the games?
Now is not the time to take issue with Russian policy or its leader. For the next two weeks we should just focus on watching the best athletes in the world compete, then sit back and think, “How the f**k did he just do that?” These games are about coming together to celebrate incredible displays of talent and athleticism, not about politics. Let’s not revert to Red Scare era thoughts just because of where the Olympics are being held…