The Sochi Olympics — another disgrace

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Some thoughts on Putin’s Olympic Games and why I will not be watching.

Once again, the International Olympic Committee caved in and awarded the games to a country with serious political and social problems and a horrible record of anti-democratic policies and actions, along with human rights abuses.

Let’s run down what we have learned about what’s really going on in Sochi.

Animal cruelty — just this week, we learned there’s a last-minute cull of stray dogs going on, many of whom are friendly and are being killed just to “tidy up” public places.

Russia is well known as an anti-democratic totalitarian state which has made a mockery of elections and attempts to reform the government and bring in some semblance of democracy.

Anti-gay laws — officials are monitoring social media and shutting down comments unflattering to Russia.

There is rampant corruption and millions of dollars of unfinished or poorly done work (Where did all that money go? Oops!)

Please feel free to add to this list.

Summary: the Sochi Olympics are yet another example of how the Games are nothing more than a forum for tyrants (Putin and his gang) to bask in the adoration of the world.

Unfortunately, the Olympics has a history of this:

• Hitler’s Games, 1936, Munich.

• Munich, 1972: the murder of Israeli athletes by terrorists, and the Games went on.

• Moscow Games, 1980: Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. Western boycott, now forgotten.

• Beijing, now Sochi.

Enough is enough. Cancel the Olympics. Stop wasting money that should be directed to health and education and housing and other projects that create better living standards and a more open society for the citizens in the host country.

There must be a better way to appreciate the accomplishments of athletes, without promoting the political repression of a totalitarian state.

Sheina Lerman

King’s Point

Organizations: International Olympic Committee

Geographic location: Sochi, Munich, Russia Afghanistan Beijing

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Recent comments

  • Cashin Delaney
    February 10, 2014 - 23:27

    On first pass it is easy to dismiss this as negative thinking because the tone is so dour and anti-sport. This is why the letter got published, as it plays to the opposite extreme of medialogic presentation (It's either A, or B). Yet, is it really an either/or situation of support, as the media (Paddy Daley this morning) like to portray it. We forget the origin of the games. We forget the origin of the marathon (150 miles in 48hrs) as well. The logic of VOCM is such: If you support the games, you are normal and not a terrorist, nor a socialist bummer to be around. If you speak about people being treated like crap, or corruption, (whether these games, Muskrat or other Pets) you are against sport (or jobs), democracy and fresh air. For those who enjoy the contest, and retain the scope of the political landscape, consider that this letter references a more open society, ending repression. The Olympics brings people together, and provides a platform for issues often sidelined. Black issues "overshadowed" the games in '68, gay issues today. Tommie Smith and John Carlos are respected much more today than way back then, when they we so valiantly, disturbingly brave and uppity on the world's stage. Why not compete, win, and display your solidarity with the oppressed on the podium with a gesture that lives forever. Why not smash your fist into the face of global racism on the day you won gold? As for the healthcare, the education, the housing, and other projects - those are excellent issues to address, but cannot be blamed on one event, or one tradition. Neither should they be forgotten because the media is gone ape over one overbearing skin colour or sex fascination. The media starts hyping gay rights early on, towns raise the pride flag, now the top headlines are "Olympic events now overshadow gay rights protest". The protest trap. All publicity is money-making publicity. One will buy Olympic gear, another will purchase Brewdog’s anti-Putin protest beer! Money and fame overshadow human rights? Oh my what a surprise.

  • doug
    February 10, 2014 - 15:51

    Sorry sir, I do not support corruption.

  • Corey
    February 10, 2014 - 15:41

    I'm sick & tired of the constant negative outcry against the Olympics. Yes, there may be scandal & political problems, but NO they should NOT cancel the Olympics. The Olympic Games have been ongoing for centuries regardless of how much people rally against the Olympics every time they roll around. It's the same, negative garbage every single time. Everyone wants to boycott or cancel the Olympics. You're completely ignoring the people that matter at the Olympics...the ATHLETES. The people who bust their butts for a shot at Olympic glory every 2-4 years. You say there should be a 'better way' to recognize the accomplishments of athletes besides the Olympics? Guess what? There ISN'T! The Olympics will go on AS THEY SHOULD regardless of every last naysayer out there. I'm just tired of people who are negative about EVERYTHING in today's world. Stop the complaining, stop the whining, stop the moaning...just...STOP. Stop. Stop. Relax & unwind ONCE in your lifetime. While you continue to chirp away about the negative side of the Games, while you sit there & focus ONLY on corruption, scandal, terrorism, & anything else that makes you feel MORE miserable & less enthusiastic about life, the rest of us will just kick back & continue to support our Olympic athletes win or lose. Because THAT is what the Olympics SHOULD be about. If you don't like it or won't watch any of it...& you keep crying out for the demise of the Olympics...well that's too bad for you now, isn't it? Because the Olympic spirit will NEVER die no matter how badly you want it to. Learn to live with it. Now...did I get your attention?? I sure hope so! Go Canada Go!

  • Corey
    February 10, 2014 - 15:34

    I'm sick & tired of the constant negative outcry against the Olympics. Yes, there may be scandal & political problems, but NO they should NOT cancel the Olympics. The Olympic Games have been ongoing for centuries regardless of how much people rally against the Olympics every time they roll around. It's the same, negative garbage every single time. Everyone wants to boycott or cancel the Olympics. You're completely ignoring the people that matter at the Olympics...the ATHLETES. The people who bust their butts for a shot at Olympic glory every 2-4 years. You say there should be a 'better way' to recognize the accomplishments of athletes besides the Olympics? Guess what? There ISN'T! The Olympics will go on AS THEY SHOULD regardless of every last naysayer out there. I'm just tired of people who are negative about EVERYTHING in today's world. Stop the complaining, stop the whining, stop the moaning...just...STOP. Stop. Stop. Relax & unwind ONCE in your lifetime. While you continue to chirp away about the negative side of the Games, while you sit there & focus ONLY on corruption, scandal, terrorism, & anything else that makes you feel MORE miserable & less enthusiastic about life, the rest of us will just kick back & continue to support our Olympic athletes win or lose. Because THAT is what the Olympics SHOULD be about. If you don't like it or won't watch any of it...& you keep crying out for the demise of the Olympics...well that's too bad for you now, isn't it? Because the Olympic spirit will NEVER die no matter how badly you want it to. Learn to live with it. Now...did I get your attention?? I sure hope so! Go Canada Go!

  • Herb Morrison
    February 10, 2014 - 12:11

    If there is corruption of any description associated with the Olympic Games, why would this come as a surprise to anyone, who is in touch with the realities of life and living, either in the world in general, or within the context of the Olympic Games, in particular? The existence of corruption is a fact of life because neither the world we live in nor the human beings inhabiting this world are perfect. The alleged existence of corruption at the Olympic Games enables the God-given gifts of athletic ability, and strength of character displayed by athletes like our own Kaetlyn Osmond, to shine that much more brightly and. in the process, provide proof that humans, as we live out our lives, can rise above any imperfections existing either within ourselvese, or in the world around, and provide a beacon hope in a world where corruption, in its' many forms, seems to be on the increase.

  • observer
    February 10, 2014 - 09:52

    Oh please! Aren't you just a barrel of fun. You must be the only person in the world who's not watching this wonderful event. People seem to whine about everything these days.

    • doug
      February 10, 2014 - 15:23

      I think you are whining about my whining, no?, I have never watched the Olympics as they have been corrupt since day one.

  • doug
    February 10, 2014 - 08:46

    It's all about the money, has nothing to do with sportsmanship, fair play or bringing the world together. The incentive for an athlete to win medals is about the fame and again the money, by way of advertisements, branding and television talk show circuits. I will certainly not be watching the tainted Olympics.

    • Corey
      February 10, 2014 - 15:45

      Tell THAT to the Athletes who worked hard for these Games. Why WOULDN'T they want the fame? Would you rather we all live like miserable minions with no enthusiasm or will to live? We should just think negative thoughts about life 24/7 because there's nothing positve to smile about. Correct?

    • Corey
      February 10, 2014 - 15:49

      Tell THAT to the Athletes who worked hard for these Games. Why WOULDN'T they want the fame? Would you rather we all live like miserable minions with no enthusiasm or will to live? We should just think negative thoughts about life 24/7 because there's nothing positve to smile about. Correct?

  • Jeff
    February 10, 2014 - 08:38

    Skip over curling? It's a sport of strategy, skill, and a degree of luck. In fact, I'd say it's THE most watchable sport for anyone who can appreciate its subtleties.

  • do not agree
    February 10, 2014 - 07:35

    I was with you up to the end Redgrave, and specifically "skip over curling!" First...You obviously have never played it, so i challenge you to try! Second, and more importantly, that statement completely goes against the great statements you made in the rest of your paragraph about bringing people together. You lost all credibility with one stupid, bias comment of your own personal views. I personally don't like hockey, but don't condemn anyone else from liking it!

  • Redgrave
    February 10, 2014 - 06:21

    Regular people who don't give a damn about politics and international squabbling enjoy the olympics. Anything that brings people of the world together, regardless of where they were born , is a good thing. All you've done here is state the obvious. Everyone knows all about Putin's governing , the same way Newfoundlanders are tuned in to our own polititical skullduggery. Use the Olympics to learn about other countries--then, later on, when it's all over; you'll have more to write about in an informed way. For now, relax and watch some good hockey--skip over curling!