Although I usually enjoy watching at least a small part of the Winter Olympics, I don’t think I’ll be watching this time around. I am sure the skiing and skating will be breathtaking. However, something about the whole production makes me feel a little icky.
With reports of terror threats, anti-gay threats, killing of street dogs and (gasp!) hotel rooms not being ready, it seems the Olympic planning committee may have missed the mark in selecting Sochi as an Olympic host city.
Terrorism is now a worldwide concern. However, many extremist Islamic factions are entrenched in remote areas of Russia. Airlines have now been warned that terrorists may try to smuggle explosive materials into or out of the city in toothpaste tubes.
Russia’s leader Putin has himself made homophobic remarks equating homosexuality with pedophilia. In a culture so entrenched in homophobia, threats against gay athletes take on a real sense of urgency.
Spaying and neutering are rare in parts of Europe, and stray dog packs are a legitimate problem in Russia. In preparation for the games, Sochi had stated plans to humanely round up stray dogs and place them into a newly-built shelter. However, that did not happen. Instead, a pest control company was hired to come in and exterminate the city’s homeless dogs.
Many fans have already decided not to attend the Olympics because of some of these concerns. There was never any danger of my getting to attend the Olympics in Russia. However, I won’t be watching on TV either. I’m sure my boycott won’t make a bit of a blip of difference in Nielsen ratings, but boycott I will nevertheless. Join me?