Sochi Olympics: Off to a Not so Good Start by Caitlin McGee
The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia didn’t quite get off to a god start. Just days before the games were due to begin; reporters and journalists arrived to find hotel rooms completely unprepared. Issues ranging from: un-flushable toilets; locked fire doors; absence of warm water; in some case no water at all and even water that was deemed dangerous to use. But it wasn’t just hotels that were a problem. Man holes were left uncovered on sidewalks and walkways. Sochi officials were removing stray dogs from the area by capturing and killing them. This all on top of concern over recent terrorist threats and human rights violations in regard to anti-LGBT laws passed this past summer that have sparked anti-gay violence all over Russia; violence that Russian president Vladimir Putin has denied, claiming that his laws are not harmful to LGBT people. In an interview with NBC reporter Bob Costas that aired on Thursdays night, Russian/American journalist Vladimir Pozner countered Putin’s claims that the laws were harmless saying that life is hard for gay Russians and that the laws had caused harm by contributing to an increase in homophobia in the country. Pozner also responded to concerns over the safety of athletes and spectators saying he felt “the powers that be” would ensure that they were safe.
The start of the Olympics weren’t all bad, however. On Wednesday, just a day before the games were scheduled to begin, United States Olympic Committee sponsor AT&T came forward stating that they did not support Russian anti-LGBT laws. They were followed by USOC sponsors DeVry University and Chobani. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also voiced his opposition to the laws on Thursday when he addressed the IOC in Sochi. The Secretary General stressed that “we all must raise our voices against attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex people,” and encouraged opposition to “arrests, imprisonments, and discriminatory regulations.” He also stated that “hatred in any kind must have no place in the 21st century.” Google also voiced their opposition to the laws by changing their doodle featuring each letter in their name with an image representing sports in the Winter Olympics and each color of the “pride flag” and shared an anti-discrimination quote from the Olympic Charter on their homepage.
An openly gay, aspiring writer and photographer just trying to make a difference in the world and fighting for the equality we all deserve.