All eyes on Sochi

By Elizabeth Lefebvre| comments | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Tonight in the United States, NBC will broadcast the Opening Ceremonies of the winter Olympic Games from Sochi, Russia. Thanks to the time difference, the ceremonies have already happened, so you may have already seen photos and videos making their way around the internet. (How can you resist clicking on a picture of Team USA in crazy sweaters and cuffed sweat pants?) And technically, some of the events themselves got underway with preliminary rounds yesterday.

But as of “tonight” here in the states, the Games are officially open, and all eyes will be on Sochi—even more so than they already have been in the months leading up to the main event.

It’s not uncommon for Olympics to be surrounded in controversy or corruption, as cities take on the task of building the facilities and infrastructure needed to host the world’s elite athletes and travelers from across the globe. But the Sochi games have fallen under a particular brand of scrutiny in the wake of security concerns, the proximity to a war zone, and—especially—Russia’s anti-gay laws, which have led international human rights groups to declare the current situation in Russia "the worst human rights climate in the post-Soviet era."

The “Google Doodle” today seems to take a stand in support of all athletes, with a rainbow selection of illustrations of the various winter sports, and a simple quotation from the Olympic Charter: "The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity, and fair play." 

The Catholic Church, while often outspoken against same-sex marriage, also believes in the inherent human dignity of each person—gay or straight.

It remains to be seen if there will be any protests, or subtle acknowledgments, originating from the athletes during the next two weeks. We’ll just have to watch and see.