The Modern Olympic Games have been a world tradition since the 1896 Summer Olympics were held in Greece. The man behind the original Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, hoped for an apolitical event celebrating the athleticism of humanity.
The IOC tries to keep politics out of the Olympics, but the reality is far from what they claim. The Olympic Games have been used as a political tool for many nations, and the United States and Russia are both major perpetrators, past and present.
Leaving politics aside, there are also huge public safety concerns involved in the Olympics. Workers die trying to complete the stadiums, toxic waste is dumped into local river supplies, and people are evicted from their houses without any compensation—and that’s all just in Sochi.
Terrorism has also been a major consideration for all the recent Olympics, and Sochi makes that abundantly clear. The back-to-back suicide bombings in Volgograd and the continued search for the “Black Widow” suicide bombers have made many question the safety of the games—even if Putin has spent over $3 billion on security measures. Let’s not forget about the war going on next door in Syria and the unrest in Ukraine.
It seems everything about the Sochi games is adding up to trouble, and that’s before considering Russia’s controversial anti-gay law.
The IOC should have listened to experts in regional politics and moved the games from Sochi long ago, especially after the bombing shortly after Sochi was named a future Olympic site.
Maybe the Sochi games are a signal to finally put out the Olympic Torch for good. Smaller events worldwide can still showcase world-class athletic events and would not attract as much terrorist activity due to the reduced audience sizes. It was a nice run while it lasted, but when should it ever be necessary to park warships in the middle of a city during peacetime?