The first competitions of the Sochi Winter Games starts February 6th, and runs through February 23rd.
The question is: will you be watching?
Over the past week, journalists in Sochi have been tweeting about unfinished hotel rooms, group toilets that won’t take toilet paper, yellow water, non-working doorknobs, and even painted grass.
Will this be the best part about this year’s Winter Olympics?
But it’s not just the poor hospitality of the Russians that we’re questioning.
Although this will negatively affect the world’s top athletes, we can’t help but question if boycotting the games is the right thing to do.
The Russian homosexual propaganda bill became federal legislation in June of 2013, and President Vladimir Putin criminalized homosexuality. As such, the mayor of Sochi is on board with this homophobic belief.
In an interview with the BBC’s program Panorama, Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov said: “We just say that it is your business, it’s your life. But it’s not accepted here in the Caucasus where we live. We do not have them in our city.”
Knowing about this open discrimination, it seems unjust that the western world agreed to participate in the Olympics with Russia as the host country.
Facebook ‘king’ George Takei – who is openly gay – called on his followers to boycott the Olympics in Sochi, and even petitioned to move the Games to Vancouver (the host city of the 2012 Winter Olympics).
And what about the safety of the athletes?
Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith is headed to Sochi to represent his home country, Canada. But the hockey star, 31, will not be bringing his young family due to the recent threats and terrorist attacks in the region.
“Me having two young kids, my wife’s also expecting number three, they’re not going to go. It’s not worth it,” the NHL star told CBC. “It’s not worth it for myself, thinking about is she okay whenever I’m not with her. It’s something that’s unfortunate but that’s just how it is.”
Smith’s wife is fellow Olympian, Canadian Alpine skier Brigitte Acton.
And then there’s the killer whale thing.
A Russian company captured two orcas in the sea of Okhotsk, northeast of Japan, to have at the Sochi aquarium in time for the Olympics. Environmental groups and whale researchers are urging Olympic organizers to condemn the display of these killer whales.
From the poor hospitality, to the openly homophobic belief system, to the threats of terrorism, to the exploitation of animals, offensive doesn’t even begin to describe it.
It just seems that if we celebrate the games, we celebrate Russia. If I have to start boycotting vodka, I’m gonna be pissed!
What are your thoughts? Are you boycotting the Sochi Olympics?