The Olympics are starting this weekend! For as long as I can remember I have loved the Winter Olympics. I have a very vivid memory of watching the Olympics on Valentine’s Day in 1988, when they were in Calgary. My grandmother and aunts were over feeding my sister and I all sorts of candy while downhill skiing was on in the background.
From luge, to skating, curling, I love it all. Don’t even get my started on the hockey! Last Olympics I was flying home from Florida during the gold medal game between Canada and the US. My step-dad picked me up from the airport and we drove home in silence because we could not risk turning on the radio to hear the score of the game. My mother had recorded it for us at home and the three of us sat around and watched together. It’s a tense situation to watch a gold medal game with an American step-father. For those who don’t remember – we took the gold!
With all my love for the Winter Olympics, I was really hesitant about watching these games. I am a huge supporter of gay rights and the stance that Russia and Putin have taken regarding homosexuality is just appalling. Personally, I don’t understand how in this modern age we can treat anyone as a second class citizen regardless of sexuality, race, religion or belief. I fully understand that there are places in the world with even more appalling laws than Russia (Uganda for example), but we are not rewarding them with millions of dollars in tourism dollars, putting them on a world stage and generally glorifying a country with these types of laws.
I was chatting with Misty the other day and she made some great points that really made me think. You may remember that Misty was a onetime Olympic hopeful. She trained for years and while she gave up that dream for personal reasons, she understand the discipline, time and money it takes for these athletes to even get to the games, let alone medal. She made me really think that regardless of the politics of the host country, which we cannot control, we should still support the athletes who have given their lives to being the best at their sport and want nothing more than to represent their country on a world stage. Smart girl.
So, I have decided that I will be watching the Olympics and cheering on our athletes, but I encourage all of us not to forget the human rights issues at the centre of these games. Thankfully there are a few major organizations that are helping to stir the conversation. I found this on Twitter the other day –
That’s the German Olympic uniform. Dressing in a rainbow sends a pretty strong message, no?
Today when I logged into Google, I saw this –
More rainbows, and a not so subtle post script about the spirit of the Olympics. The world is talking about this, blogsters. Get into the conversation.