The Protest Games

Isn’t it ironic that with the Olympic Games being hosted by a government that suppresses dissent by its citizens and refused all demonstrations in designated areas, these Games have been filled with protests both large and small? It began with complaints about the use of lip-synching and computer graphics at the opening ceremonies and continued with charges of underage gymnasts, tennis players not regulating themselves in a gentlemanly manner, deliberate head hunting in baseball, and incorrect touch pad technology at the swimming venue. Then there were the racially insensitive poses by Spanish athletes. And a quick review of Olympic news stories also reveals protests in sailing, team handball and track and field. Finally, I’m not accusing anyone of steroid use, but the level of rage and antics at the wrestling, boxing, and taekwondo venues seemed to reach new heights. As Aaron Beard of the Associated Press correctly summarized in his column, “athletes are adding ‘gripe, fuss, complain’ to the Olympic motto of ‘swifter, higher, stronger.’” Some of the players and coaches have offered conciliatory comments after cooling off from the heat of the moment. Others have actually been vindicated through the appeals process. In the end, all this bickering seems infantile compared to the real world violence taking place with the Russian army in Georgia and Abkhazia, a mere 25 kilometers away from Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics.


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