Every four years, representatives from 88 nations gather in one location somewhere in the world to perform the art of athleticism. The Olympics are an event to shower athletes with medals that they have trained intensely to win.
The 2014 Winter Olympics have been the total opposite of this. Host nation Russia and the city of Sochi have become a political arena for the entire world. But this shouldn’t be the case.
We should be celebrating the athletic talent that we have the privilege of watching from our television set.
With problems varying from the shooting of stray dogs to the LGBT controversy to the missing fifth Olympic ring during the opening ceremony, political drama has taken center stage. A hashtag was even made on Twitter called “#SochiProblems.”
This is all nonsense.
The media is turning Russia into a place no one ever wants to visit again. Athletes did not travel from all around the world just to be at the center of these problems. Not only are they distractions for the athletes that could affect their performances, but they are also taking away from the tradition of the games for the viewers.
Most athletes participate in the games to enjoy themselves, because it is a place to have fun and do what they love. They are just happy to be there and to have made it to a stage that is universal.
According to CNN’s “Sochi 2014: Russia’s Numbers Game,” the price tag on the XXII Winter Olympic Games is approximately $50 billion when the original targeted budget was a mere $12 billion. Having spent most of this money on infrastructure to meet the hosting needs for thousands of visitors, this year’s event marks the most expensive in all Olympic history.
And what do we all do? Focus on the controversy manifesting in the country that has invested billions to make the best event it possibly can.
The Olympic Games allow for countries of all different histories from around the world to come together and unite. Although for competition, we are all there. We put aside our differences for two weeks and just enjoy the pleasure of being a part of a world event.
The geography of Russia is beautiful, despite negative political undertones from the U.S. There are countless views of mountains, large stretches of plains and numerous lakes and rivers. While the U.S. Government is constantly trying to give Russia an atrocious reputation, in reality the location is perfect for winter sports.
As the U.S. team competes for gold, the level of patriotism increases. We see it in commercials, clothing, social networks and local pubs; all of which encourage people to watch and support the Sochi Games. This is how it should be.
Going to Russia and competing for a gold medal is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. As an audience, we need to embrace the accomplishments athletes are achieving. The Winter Olympics began in 1924 just after World War I and the tradition has continued for 90 years. This is a part of our culture that we need to embrace and not use as an arena for politics.
The XXII Winter Olympics has been anything but fun. Be proud of your country and embrace the talent that makes up the Olympic Games.