The Olympics are always tinged with controversy, and this year’s event is no different. There are serious and legitimate concerns about the Russian government’s abuse of their people, terrorist threats, and the media acting as propaganda and covering it all up.
As was the case at the Beijing Olympics, activists say that the Olympics allow human rights abusers to paint a rosy picture of themselves and their regime at the expense of even more of their nations’ citizens.
Others say that while human rights abuses are tragic, the Olympics are really about the athletes themselves. The focus should put aside all that and focus on the skill, dedication, and outright artistry of the athletes competing. We see the best athletes from all over the world perform with grace and passion, and it really is amazing to see what humans are capable of when they push themselves to excel.
But that isn’t the true meaning of the Olympics either. No, the purpose of the Olympics is to rack up gold medals, to crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women. USA! USA!
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Actually, it’s a serious question, and I don’t think it has an easy answer. I’m neither on team sweep-it-under-the-rug nor on team cancel-the-Olympics-because-of-the-abuse. We’re trying to handle it with our kids by explaining the abuses in age-appropriate ways when appropriate. But we are watching, despite the abuse, and I do want the focus to be on the amazing athleticism. Am I aiding and abetting the abuse by doing so? Can you have an event of this size and scope without corruption and abuse? What do you think?
Oh, and I don’t think you can talk about the Olympics and the Russians without mentioning “The Miracle on Ice.” USA! USA!