Turning the Page

Lessons from Sochi

Published: Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 11:23 a.m. CDT

Grudges can ruin things for everyone. Even though the grudge might harm other people, sometimes pride gets in the way. We are seeing that on a global stage right now.

The International Olympic Committee has a longstanding grudge against the United States of America. It thinks this country is pompous, prideful, egotistical and arrogant, which is why the U.S. has been denied recent bids at hosting summer or winter Olympiads.

When President Obama showed up at the final selection vote when Chicago was under consideration for the 2016 games, they took it as a slap in the face. Our worldwide famous president showed up and expected them to hand us the Olympics. Well, they sure showed us.

One of the many decisions made in this committee’s infinite wisdom was to give the 2014 Winter Olympics to Sochi, Russia. So, how’s that working out for you?

Well, let’s check out the latest reports. Athletes have been forced into small living quarters. Their bathrooms contain either a non-flushable toilet, a trashcan for throwing away waste paper or the dreaded side-by-side toilet. The world’s best snowboarder, Shaun White, dropped out of slopestyle because the course is a mess, which has been confirmed by several other snowboarders.

And that’s just the athletes.

According to the most recent media reports, there are no tourists in Sochi to watch the games. None, zero, not a one. Granted, the Winter Olympics doesn’t have the same draw as the summer games, but it’s still a worldwide event. Countries from all around the world send their best to compete, which typically brings proud nationals to come cheer on their countrymen. Those nationals wanted nothing to do with either the accommodations or possibly the politics of Sochi.

Russia’s policy on wire-tapping and surveillance makes the NSA look like your nosy neighbor, and it’s anti-gay propaganda is stuck in a mindset not of this or the previous generation. I wouldn’t want to go either.

Although the U.S. was not a finalist for this year’s games, this incident should open the eyes of the IOC and its members. Maybe having the most important and most watched sporting events in the world in a country able to handle everything it brings with it, including a place people actually want to visit.

We can only hope this changes things for the future, but don’t hold your breath for 2024.

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