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Politics and the Olympics

January 21, 2014 - Steve Murch
Politics and political statements (and even worse — remember the Munich Games) go hand in hand with the Olympic Games. And 2014 in Sochi, Russia, is going to be no different. In fact, this one appears that both are a threat to the Games.

Recently we have had bombings, and now the threat of the Black Widow terrorist. It seems almost impossible to avoid; Sochi seems destine to have a black cloud hanging over it. The world is becoming smaller all the time in terms of our abilities to get from A to B, and to find out what is happening in point C. Some of it is good, and unfortunately some of isn't.

I like to think of the Olympics and the competition, but the fact is for the most part there has always been some political drama. The Council on Foreign Relations has a narrated piece on politics and the Olympics, and it starts much earlier than you might suspect — 1906.

For me the first real recollection of the other side of the Games was 1972 in Munich when the Israeli athletes were abducted and eventually killed. Though I was young and didn't understand the ramifications at the time, I knew something wasn't right.

We've had boycotts, we've a bombing, and we used to have U.S. vs. Soviet judging. The whole process of getting an Olympic bid is a political one, and those decisions more often than not have draw criticism and skepticism.

Now we have Russia. Even before the bombings started being the focus of the turmoil, we had the gay factor. Russia's anti-gay laws were in the forefront, and athletes were making statements prior to the Games. What they might do during the Olympics still is a mystery. I wouldn't bet against a team or even nation incorporating some theme during the traditional opening and introduction of the teams.

Now, the Dutch brass band Kleintje Pils might be getting in the act. The band from the Netherlands always plays at the speed skating ovals entertaining the crowd and creating sing-alongs during ice resurfacing. Band leader Ruud Bakker told the Associated Press the band might perform the Village People's YMCA, though he said they don't want to turn it into a “political game.”

They probably shouldn't worry about that, politics is just one of the games played during the Games.


Article Comments



Jan-29-14 11:24 AM

We all know them muslims, christians and commies don't like YMCA.


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