Maybe you are sleeping through it this morning, or are at work like me, or just don’t care, but the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are happening, like right now.
Tiger hunting, black belt wearing and often shirtless Russian President Vladimir Putin will be there avoiding rainbow flags, while waving his own, flag that is. Hopefully, he will be OK with the fact that figure skating requires men to wear tights, not so unlike his favourite sport of wrestling.
Jokes aside, these Olympics are really a twisted game of contradictions, in my opinion.
Seriously, we have one of the leaders, and now president of The Group of Eight (G8) and supposed member of the free world, condemning homosexuals while the rest of the world is trying to move on from hatred.
And that’s just the start.
The Games are supposed to be an international sport, all nations welcome, but it’s really become about the nations who can afford to participate. The glory goes to who gets the most endorsements, post-Games, and who really can pay the big bucks to make sure their athletes haul as many golds home as possible.
Another thing reeking of irony is who gets to host the Games.
Again, this is supposed to be an international event, but it’s only the rich countries that are deemed able to host.
Case in point: When some of the international media arrived at their hotels to cover the Games, unable to open doors due to the lack of doorknobs, or to find toilets not able to accept toilet paper, and urine coloured water coming out of their taps, Russia was cast as “a third world nation.”
Well, it’s actually a second world nation, but then again, what were you expecting? Downton Abbey?
Vancouver also got raked through the coals before the Olympic torch was even alight about what the Games would cost the poor.
It turned out their homes, when hotels along East Hastings started shutting down, and people who had nowhere to live sought places like the Okanagan for refuge.
It seems as if the Games are now on unequal footing, on all accounts.
The even more ironic story of these Games so far is how the very well paid, and often over six-feet-tall professional hockey players, who are now allowed to play in the former “amateur” arena, have dealt with the tiny cots shown to them in their Sochi suite. According to Canada’s chef de mission for Sochi, Steve Podborski, they wanted no special treatment.
But let’s not kid ourselves, heads will roll, like literally, if those boys don’t serve up gold on a silver platter come the finals.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually love, make that loved, the Olympics.
It started from when I was a young girl who wished to be Nadia Comăneci when she scored the perfect 10 at the Summer Games in my then hometown of Montreal in ‘76.
Do I sound cynical now? Yes. Am I a hypocrite? Hell, yes. I’ll still be watching the Games. I love winter sport, so I can’t help myself, and there’s a few local boys to cheer on.
But to those Lords of the Rings, I think inclusive would be a better way to run an international event. Maybe bring back skijoring for starters.