We are just two days away from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. It kind of crept up on all of us this year, didn’t it?
The two week-long games give us an opportunity to see the world’s premiere athletes compete against one another, many of whom will go from relative unknowns to superstars overnight. There will be uplifting stories that make us believe in the impossible, and backstories that help us better understand the hardships that so many people endure in other areas of the world.
We’ll be inspired, mesmerized and in awe of what some people do.
But until then, we can all bash the host city because there’s nothing else to talk about!
Right now, Sochi has the tropical reputation equal to that of New Jersey. And because of the reports that are coming out of there at the moment, there’s a preconception that it’s a “shithole.”
The reports I’m referring to are these.
Which are duly noted, might I add. Tap water should never look like this:
But reports of unclean facilities are obviously minor compared to what people are most anxious about: terrorism.
Less than 40 days ago, two suicide bombings a day apart in Vologograd — also in southeast Russia, about 600 miles from Sochi — killed 34 people and injured 100. So near to the Olympics, it naturally stirred fears that something similar could happen in the host city. The suspected mastermind of the bombings was killed today in a police shootout, by the way.
A CNN and Opinion Research Corporation dual poll of more than 1,000 Americans showed that 57 percent believe there will be a terrorist attack during the Olympic Games in Sochi. Call it paranoia, call it cynicism, but clearly people have some type of preemptive notion that Sochi is a very volatile and vulnerable area.
Up until 1999, homosexuality was deemed a mental illness there. There are also no laws prohibiting discrimination of sexual orientation. And in July, the Russian government passed a law — nicknamed by opposition as the “anti-gay law” — outlawing pro-gay “propaganda” that could be accessible to minors.
So there’s all that.
Hopefully in two days, once the games begin, the stories will go from dirty bathrooms and terrorism to athletic prowess and patriotism, and most importantly, to hot athletes like Norwegian cross-country skier Therese Johaug (blonde) and Slovenian alpine skier Tina Maze (brunette). Who are much more appealing to look at than brown water.
We can also hope that who are the hottest Olympians is still the topic of conversation come Feb. 23, and not any type of terrorist activity, which, let’s face it, surfaces every Olympics.
And if any one in the world has ever gone — or plans to go — on a vacation from New Jersey to Sochi, or vice versa, then I have just one word to tell you that you should take under serious advisement.