The facade of Olympic greatness

993013_490709441014226_245078054_nBy Hannah Bleau |

Although the tension between Russia and America supposedly dissolved after the end of the Cold War, the two countries have never reached a point of genuine friendship. Old tensions caught media attention when Russian President, Vladimir Putin, wrote a lovely op-ed for the New York Times, which encompassed his deep disdain for the American state.

He criticized “American exceptionalism,” writing, “And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism … It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.”

It’s no mystery. The Russian government is not a fan of the United States. The Sochi Olympics, however, are Russia’s platform to reestablish themselves as a world power. It’s like a retired former champion boxer trying to come back come back and prove he’s still got it, but in reality only a shadow of his former self.

Russia’s reputation is hanging in the success of the Sochi Olympics. Putin was a central figure who worked to bring the Olympics to Russia. As a matter of fact, Russia is still in an economic mess from the Cold War, and quite frankly, they’re still a bit miffed about it.

The Sochi Olympics is a way of sending a signal to the world: “Greetings everyone,” Russia is again a dominant leader. Watch out America.

But alas, numerous stories have surfaced, shining a light on Russia’s embarrassing problems. Here are a few:

• Apparently, Russia’s elaborate new water fixtures are absolutely exquisite. Unfortunately, the water coming out is yellow and not even proper for a cat to consume.

• Stray dogs can be a problem anywhere, but the Russian government decided it’s best to just exterminate them all in preparation for the games.

• Being outwardly gay is basically outlawed. (Note: THAT is what gay oppression looks like. People not agreeing with your lifestyle is not “homophobia.” If you really want to be a victim living in a homophobic society, by all means, move to Russia. Arguments will then be legitimized.)

• A Russian official also leaked that Olympic hotel bathrooms are rigged with secret cameras so government officials can keep an eye on travelers. Now there’s a sure sign of a fruitful, free society.

• In addition, Tweets have been sent out over the unfinished projects in Russia as well with the popular hashtag #sochiproblems.

• As if that’s not enough, Russia is also detaining 5,000 cups of Chobani yogurts for the American Olympic athletes.

Russian authorities claim these points are just worthless attacks from the West. They say America is trying to make Russia look bad. Because of course we are.

Keep in mind, this all surfaced before the games even began.

The opening ceremony was Friday night. This was the beginning of Russia’s statement. The opening ceremony showed a little girl flying through the air surrounded by vast landscapes. According to the host, this represented Russia’s immense countryside and offered justification for central authorities to rule with an “iron hand.”

The opening ceremony encompassed the story of Russia. The five Olympic rings gently came down in a majestic way, but only four of them opened. Considering how important this ceremony was for Russia, it was absolutely humiliating for the country. Meanwhile, the other half of the world found it hilarious.

I was disturbed to see how the program glorified the Russian Revolution and completely distorted the Cold War era. They showed 50s-styled streets glitzed out with laughing families, booming industries and skipping children through the streets. Weird. That’s not how the Cold War was at all — especially for mother Russia. They basically white-washed the true empire of Russia. They ignored the ugly truth — the genocides, starvation, poverty and oppression.

I truly love the Olympics. The athletes are amazing, and who doesn’t like a little competition? I just think it’s kind of phony how all the countries pretend that everyone gets along when that’s not the case at all. The Sochi Olympics is a political statement for Russia. It’s not just about the games. It’s not just about the athletes. It’s about Russia’s attempt to reinstate its acceptance as a major international power.

The fact of the matter is, Russia is an empty shell. It’s a country fraught with corruption, manipulation and a downright ugly history. There’s nothing celebratory about socialism or communism, and it would be different if Russia actually adhered to the ideology of democracy like they pretend to.

If the Russians really wanted to set themselves on the world stage in a positive light, the worst idea was to invite Americans of any kind into the country. Why? They cannot censor our journalists. They may have the “iron fist” ruling their media, but we’ve got opinionated, big-mouthed Americans who will continue to take pictures of yellow water, unfinished structures and the four Olympic rings.

The malfunctioning Olympic rings is perhaps a representation of the real Russia. See past their facade of freedom and greatness. Behind is a country burdened with corruption, deception and a tendency towards tyranny.

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