Monday, February 24, 2014

With no attack in Sochi, Russia wins Olympics

The Sochi Olympics ring-wink
Considering that Russia kept its many internal enemies from staging a terrorist attack in Sochi, the Winter Olympics were a tremendous success.

And no, the members of Pussy Riot are not terrorists.

During the games, though, Ukrainians staged a coup of their Moscow-backed government and the world now awaits the real Russian response.

In the meantime, it's worth assessing these Winter Olympics at which the Russian team, which included an American (two gold medals in snowboarding) and South Korean (three golds and one silver in short-track speed skating), won the most medals.

Russian President Vladimir Putin committed $51 billion to transforming the Sochi region and, by most accounts, succeeded in pleasing athletes and spectators alike.

But, all was not golden.

The Olympic Village was constructed on wetlands below sea level and could easily be underwater in a few years. Also, the brand new ski resorts attracted few snow-riders.

Also, NBC sportscaster Bob Costas, suffering from pink eye, delivered a stunning rebuke of Russia's dismal civil rights record, particularly gay rights, and Putin's support for the murderous Syrian regime. (Those comments, though, would've carried more weight before America's unprovoked invasion of Iraq in 2003 that cost this country significant chunks of the moral high ground.)

Still, Costas scored some solid points.

The best reporting of the Sochi Games, though, came from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

The Daily Show's Jason Jones, who was actually in Russia and not in front of a green screen in the New York studio, nailed it.

In this report, Jones longs for the Cold War in "Commie Dearest."

In a report titled, "Behind the Iron Closet," Jones finds widespread support for laws against gay rights.

And, most brilliantly, Jones compares Russia today with deep-red state views in America in a segment titled, "Better off Red."

Not to be outdone, Stephen Colbert sent his flamboyantly gay producer Buddy Cole to Sochi in search of the "gay threat" to the games titled "From Russia With Love (But No Gay Stuff)."

All hilarious stuff for an American audience. It was amazing they didn't get shot or at least horse-whipped by Cossacks like some members of Pussy Riot did.

Russia's security for the Sochi Games was effective and the Olympics came off without a hitch except for warm temperatures and melting ski slopes.

Yet, if Russia feels threatened by Pussy Riot or homosexuals, then it must be terribly insecure as a nation.

And, such a troubled nation can pose dangerous threats to its neighbors and the world at large.

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