The costs behind the spectacle

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Be it resolved: that the 2014 winter games in Sochi, Russia, were a vile and obscene exhibition of waste, national vanity and corruption on a monumental scale.

• That further, the International Olympic Committee is a widely suspected corrupt organization and has proven to be so from time to time.

• That an expenditure of $50 billion by the Russian government will prove to be theft of Madoffian proportions.

• That such is the intensity and perversion of the human competitive spirit, that some athletes will cheat and have done so even as to their gender, because of extraordinary pressures put on them both political and commercial.

• That the CBC, with its ubiquitous presence and coverage, is aiding the wilful and open corruption of the competition and the villainous heavy-handed manner in which it has been staged.

Further, that the CBC is complicit and hypocritical in its benign acceptance of blatant violations of basic human rights in Russia.

• That the winter games themselves are, in some instances, little more than a modern invention of mere tricks in the snow better characterized as a game of “boggers,” to use the local vernacular, and unworthy of the former dignity of Olympic games history and tradition.

• That the younger athletes themselves, for all their fine qualities and hard work, are unaware of the manipulative manner in which they have been treated.

Further, and given time and maturity, they will realize that they were used for political and commercial purposes.

And now, the vote

For the proposition?


Robert Rowe

St. John’s

Organizations: CBC, International Olympic Committee

Geographic location: Russia

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Recent comments

  • Cashin Delaney
    March 05, 2014 - 01:36

    You know, it is a stickly game of perception manufacturing. Harper and Obama went to Mexico. The Telegram featured (like all their fellow mainstream clone-papers) patriotic, lets not let the politics ruin the games rhetoric. I don't believe the athletes are any more unawares of corruption levels than, say, a Metis worker at Muskrat Falls. I agree with the point on invented games, I had bridge-ball growing up, a fusion of soccer and squash. Hit-the-turd-with-a-rock is a good one to play while waiting in the bush for a helicopter. ******repeating myself from Feb. 10th comment now******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.

  • SayWhat
    March 04, 2014 - 11:17

    Your comment about the human rights issue is 100% correct. Just look at what is happening in Ukraine today. However lets go back to the Olympics and discuss about a major human rights issue that took place and it was totally ignored by the CBC. Thank goodness the European media covered it. During the Olympics the Moscow based soccer team CSKA was given a stiff penalty by UEFA for its fans shouting racist chants in a game against Manchester City. UEFA issued a heavy fine and the team must play its next European competition (i.e. Champions League) home game behind closed doors. This ruling has given traction for a call to boycott the 2018 World Cup in Russia by African nations. Don't think it will happen, Africa boycotted the 1966 World Cup in England. I say shame on the CBC for failing to tell us of this racism in Russia