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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

BIGGI: Controversy ruins already lackluster Winter Games

BIGGI new1I am over the 2014 Olympic Games.

In fact, I have not really been into them at all this winter. Don’t get me wrong: I love watching sports, especially competitions like the Olympic Games where so many events are brought together for two weeks every four years.

Ever since the games were selected to be in Sochi, they have been marred with a cloud of controversy. Last June, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a law banning all distribution of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors. Many LGBT activists said this law is so vague that it essentially denounces all of gay culture. They also argued that this was grounds for Sochi to lose its Olympic charter.

Not to mention there were many terrorist threats to blow-up or kidnap athletes competing at the games. On Feb. 7, a man unsuccessfully attempted to hijack a plane and demanded the pilot land in Sochi where the opening ceremonies were simultaneously taking place.

Let’s be honest. We do not normally watch the sports that are in the winter Olympics, with the exception of hockey if you are from the certain parts of the United States. Therefore, time immediately before the Olympics is always interesting, as we are getting to know the athletes competing for our country as well as others. Consequently, the controversy completely poisoned the spirit of the Games.

As far as I know, the whole point placing the Olympics in a particular city is to boost their economy. The budgeted cost of the Sochi games was $14 billion; however, the final price ended up being an estimated $50 billion, the highest in the history of the Olympics. Thus, the city of Sochi will be left fretting over their loss after the Games in this financial gamble, waiting for tourists to show up.

My favorite competition, snowboarding, has been a mess, with many of athletes withdrawing just prior to the Games. Shaun White cited his withdrawal to safety concerns with the half pipe constructed in Sochi. Therefore, they should probably put more money into the apparatuses rather than the Olympic rings at the opening ceremony. Oh wait. Those didn’t work either.

The victims of these events are not those watching, but rather the competitors, many of whom could earn the majority of their life’s salary. Unlike Michael Phelps or gymnastics’ Fab Five, we do not have that one “American sweetheart” who will end up on the front of a Wheaties box.

With 18, the United States is tied for first place in medal count. Of course this is mainly due to the number of bronze, symbolizing the disappointment for viewers and athletes in speed skating and snowboarding, among other sports.

The country’s best possible chance of a rebound or Wheaties-box-star is in the winter games’ most popular sports on ice. U.S. ice hockey was given a bye to the quarterfinals and ice dancing partners Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the United States’ first medal in the specialty.

The controversies prior to the Olympics have taken away from the character of the Games, shifting the focus from those who have trained for many years to contemporary issues happening within Russian borders.

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    Ryan ClarkFeb 18, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Shaun White pulled out of slopestyle, not halfpipe. He came in a deserved fourth on the pipe.