I bet the Russians are glad the Olympics are finally underway. Maybe now they can shield some of that criticism that’s been thrown their way.
They have been scrutinized for everything from inadequate security to the number of johns they have in bathroom stalls.
Their water isn’t clean, their streets are unpaved, their snowboarding course is too dangerous and gays aren’t welcome.
They’ve spent billions of dollars and worked many hours to build a model venue and they hardly got the place open in time.
We’ve heard these things about many other Olympic venues, especially those in countries that we don’t get along with. But in the end, the Olympics normally are successful, regardless of all the propaganda.
The terrorist threat in Sochi is something to be concerned about. It’s in a part of the world where people are restless and terrorist attacks do occur. Being a premier event on the world stage, the Olympics are a prime target. A successful terrorist attack in Russia on Western athletes, no less, would embolden every extremist group in the world. It happened in Munich in 1972 when 11 Israeli athletes were killed by the Palestinian group Black September. Even in our country at the relatively peaceful Atlanta Summer Olympics, a bomb was detonated that killed two people and injured 111 others.
But all that aside, the Russians are putting on a pretty good show. The opening ceremony Friday night was right up there with the spectacular show the Chinese dazzled us with when they hosted the Summer Olympics in Bejing in 2008 (another country we don’t give much credit).
I’ve snow skied some in my life but most of the winter events are contests I’ve only seen on television. Curling, figure skating, biathlon, luge, ski jumping, Nordic combined, bobsleighing are all foreign to me even though much of our country is very familiar with them. But that doesn’t slow my enthusiasm. If Americans are competing, I’m rooting for them regardless of the event. As I’ve said in years past, the Olympics are a time when we all can support the same team. There are no Seminoles and Gators or Tigers and Tide. It’s us, baby, against them.
So, for the next ten days I’ll be glued to my easy chair watching the home team kick some, as the Russians like to say, buttski. Because hearing our national anthem played during the Olympics is literally, and figuratively, music to my ears. Not only is it the most beautiful national anthem in the world, but it brings pride to my soul and tears to my eyes.
Now, let’s pray for a great Olympics even though the Russians can’t figure out how many toilets should go in a bathroom stall.