Putin Takes Olympic Spirit Global
Not quite understandably, building a fifty one-billion dollar Olympic sports complex and dominating the Winter Games with 33 total medals, including 13 gold, wasn’t that gratifying for Russian President Vladmir Putin. His attempt to reassert Russian superiority in front of a global audience through team figure skating, speed skating, and the four-man bobsled clearly did not satisfy. Because nothing says world domination better than invading a neighboring country, Putin recently moved Russian forces into Ukraine.
Olympic goodwill and fraternity was barely over before Putin turned his attention back to ironfisted malevolency. Immediately after the Games officially closed, he police arrested more than 400 anti-Putin protesters in Moscow. In addition, two high-profile members of the punk band Pussy Riot were arrested again after being accused of theft at their hotel in Sochi. Both members had been granted amnesty after two years of gulag incarceration in a show of good faith shortly before the Olympic flame was lit.
There was a lot of Cold War backlash in Sochi that has not been part of Olympic coverage in recent years: ridicule over accommodations and amenities, poking fun at Russia’s patriotism. Maybe we should have boosted Russia’s ego instead of crushing it, then, perhaps, she wouldn’t be looking for respect by terrorizing other countries. Maybe we should have been a bit more understanding when her hockey team suffered an agonizing defeat at the hands of those pesky Finns. Perhaps we should have told Russia how well they did organizing the Games. We should have sent a thank you note along with a few bald eagles, some apple pie, and Gracie Gold (she didn’t really live up to the hype) as a nice hostess gift: Thanks bunches Russia, we so loved Sochi, it was tons of fun! You totally killed it over there. Lots of love and we hope to see you soon, just not in Crimea! XOXOXO