From Russia With Apathy

This Post was originally published on February 6th, 2014

The Olympics are the pinnacle of sport.  Relatively unknown athletes laying it all on the line to represent their home countries by participating in sports that nobody cares about except for a few weeks every 4 years striving to bring home the gold before fading back into obscurity.  Seriously what could be better than that? Jingoistic pride (check), great stories about underdogs (check), there being no I in team (check), beautiful women wearing form fitting clothing (check), “average” Joes slaving away to become the best at their sport (check), wonderful performance art (check), people laying it all on the line for glory (check), and of course curling.

I love the Olympics, and just about everything that they stand for.  I grew up with a poster from the 1980 Lake Placid games on my wall.  I have been to several Olympic sites in Placid, Park City, Hotlanta, and even Barcelona.  The romance behind representing your country and being the best in the world (take that Canada) gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling every other summer or winter.  Hell I even started growing my beard as a form of protest during the Beijing Games, well protest or being too lazy to shave.  I love the Olympics and feel that they are something that I always look forward to… until now.

Whenever you don’t like something for whatever reason it is always good to examine the why of the matter.  Why is this year different that the past 16 or so years that I have followed the Olympics with a fervor?  Is it because Putin is an asshole?  Well that probably has something to do with it.  I have never been a big fan of the iron fisted ex KGB bigot, but hes not my president so what does it matter.  The spotlight of the games have shone a pretty bright light on the issues going on in Russia, and instead of using this opportunity to help his country Putin has basically just shouted “I DO WHAT I WANT” and then taken a shot of Vodka.  Maybe its the vodka?  I hate that Russian firewater with a passion too.

It seems that most of the news coverage about the Olympics has revolved around plumbing and housing.  The tandem toilets, the toilets that were somehow built without flushers, the fact that Russia is shitty, the cameras in the toilets, its just getting out of hand.  Sochi was named as an the host city like 8 years ago and apparently they didnt get their shit together.  In 2008 I stayed in the same University of Utah dorms that the Olympians stayed in during the 2002 games.  They were standard college suites and were actually pretty nice and a lot of thought and planning had been put into them.  The people who planned the Sochi games didn’t even buy enough pillows, its nuts that they are expecting the world’s best to perform in what winds up being shitty conditions.

Nobody will accuse me of being an animal activist.  I like animals all right, but I really don’t love animals.  The fact that a week before the opening ceremony there were so many stray dogs roving the streets that they had to start poisoning and shooting them is just disturbing.  You have been building these stadiums for years, HOW DID YOU NOT NOTICE THE PACKS OF FERAL DOGS ROAMING THE AREA UNTIL LAST WEEK?  If they would have had their shit together they probably could have fixed this issue in a humane way.  Seriously if you cannot pull your own head out of your ass ask for help, there is somebody on the tandem toilet who can assist you.

There are hundreds of millions of dollars being spent and made off these Olympics.  The sponsorship and the TV networks and all the expense of building the facilities and the pomp and circumstance, but the athletes get none of it.  The American athletes have to even pay for their own flights.  How crazy is that?  Everybody is getting rich except for the people who train for years and will get nothing out of it except a few minutes in the spotlight and possibly their face on a Wheaties box, and that doesn’t even matter because Wheaties are the bastard step child of cereals.  It really grinds my gears that the commercialism of the games doesn’t give back to the people who make it possible.  How is it that the richest nation on earth cant even foot the bill for plane tickets for those who represent it on the international stage.

I doubt that I am going to watch any of this year’s Olympics, and that is a shame.  The fact that I don’t have a TV probably plays a roll, but if I wanted to watch something then I could find a way.  NBC does a very good job (Bob Costas is #1) and they probably stream at least the important stuff online.  This feeling of apathy, or even antipathy is very unnatural when it comes to me and sports, maybe its a hangover effect from an anticlimactic Superbowl.  I hope that all the athletes go out there and reach for glory for themselves and their nations, and despite all the bullshit that the games go off without a hitch.  Maybe by the time the summer games in Rio roll around I will have regained my passion for the sport in its purest form, but until then I will just have to monitor the medal counts and hope that we beat Canada.  U-S-A.

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