Culbreath: No secret: I love the Winter OlympicsWritten by Matt 'Shaggy' Culbreath | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I mean, I love the Olympics in general, but the Winter Olympics are my drug. Hockey, skiing, skating, bobsled, curling, even snowboarding? Love it. I’ll watch it all. I’ll watch it live. I’ll stream that stuff, I don’t care.
(You mean to tell me that some of this stuff will start at 5 in the morning? Maybe I won’t stream everything…)
And like literally everyone else, Sochi has me nervous.
I’m used to Summer Olympics being drenched in controversy over the host country: Beijing had “free speech zones” and disappearing stray animals, Athens still hasn’t recovered from the money they dumped into hosting in 2004, and all signs point to similar problems for Brazil in 2016.
But the Winter Olympics? Granted, I haven’t been around forever, but everything always goes so smoothly. Vancouver was a model city, Turin got through with only some delays with their metro, and Salt Lake City ran smoothly, even with September 11th fresh in their memory.
But the word started coming in early this week as media descended on Sochi: they are not ready. People pulled in to find sidewalks and streets still being paved. Others checked into their hotel rooms, only to find them still under construction. Watch your step, because some manholes were without covers.
The athletes aren’t faring much better. Pictures of team lodging includes 3 twin beds side-by-side in one room. How about 2 toilets in one bathroom, with no divider? Cozy.
Out on the courses, danger as well. American snowboarder Shaun White was supposed to compete in the slopestyle event, a new sport for 2014. But while practicing on the course, he jammed his wrist. Not the first injury before the games even began: two other athletes also suffered injury during practice: one medal contender broke his collarbone, another suffered a concussion. White pulled out of the event, saying that the course was too dangerous, and that he’ll instead just focus on the halfpipe event instead.
That’s not to mention the political strife surrounding these games. Much has already been said about the plight of the LGBT athlete in a country that has laws designed to persecute them. Hacker activists are looking to take advantage of the weakened infrastructure to promote their causes. Specific security threats from terrorist groups will have people on edge up until the closing ceremonies.
Do I think everything will go off okay? I hope so. That’s about the best I can offer. But at the start, it’ll be a lot like Beijing: watching through my fingers as they cover my eyes. Hopefully, as the days go on, I’ll be able to relax and enjoy the action. For now, I can just wish good luck to all of the athletes, both on the ice and off.
Tags: "free speech zones", 2016, American snowboarder Shaun White, Beijing, bobsled, Brazil, China, Curling, hacker activists, hockey, LGBT athlete, Russia, Salt Lake City, skating, skiing, slopestyle event, snowboarding, Sochi, Summer Olympics, Vancouver, Winter Olympics