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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My Olympic Solution To The Russian Gay Thing

Something good MUST come from this! I know
Homer Simpson would approve.
There's been a large outcry from around the world against Russia for its recent onslaught of anti-gay laws and violence, particularly as it relates to two things: Russian vodka and the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Among the many suggestions and counter-suggestions that have meandered into my brain via various media outlets:

Boycott Russian vodka, especially Stolichnaya. Put financial pressure on Russia.
Don't boycott Stoli -- the company isn't actually Russian-owned and is pro-LGBT.

Boycott the Sochi Olympics. That will hurt and embarrass Russia.
Don't boycott the Sochi Olympics -- that will only hurt the athletes who aren't allowed to compete.

Move the Olympics to another location. That will hurt Russia.
Don't move the Olympics -- logistically it just can't be done.

Athletes, coaches, officials and others participating in or attending the Olympics should protest while there -- for example, wearing items with the rainbow flag.
Athletes, etc. shouldn't protest -- the Olympics shouldn't be politicized (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA -- they've been politicized longer than I've been alive) and athletes may be disqualified or sanctioned. Plus these visitors may risk being arrested themselves. (Russian officials keep changing their tunes in this regard and the International Olympic Committee, engorged as it is by greed and corruption, doesn't have a clue how to react.)

No one should travel to Russia for vacation. Spend tourism money elsewhere.
...actually, I haven't seen a pro-tourism viewpoint here. But how many people actually visit Russia for pleasure when there isn't an Olympics? I have no statistics, but if you're not a Russophile like Johnny Weir, there are a lot more glamorous vacation destinations.

What disturbs me is the infighting I've seen regarding these ideas. Maybe it's just my finding links and comments on Twitter, but it seems both supporters and opponents of these boycotts are doing a lot of nasty sniping at each other. While they agree that something needs to be done, they aren't exactly putting up a united front.

That has to stop. I'm for any boycott that anyone wants to do. I'm in favor of not buying Russian vodka. I'm in favor of moving the Olympics (more on that in a moment). I'm in favor of boycotting the Olympics, if any governments decided to do so. I don't really care what's done, but something must be done to stop the injustices in Russia. But I'm not in favor of fighting and insulting each other.

As far as moving the Olympics out of Sochi, I think there's a way.

It surely would be an extreme logistical nightmare to change the location from Sochi to, say, Vancouver on such short notice. The only way to attempt it would be to postpone the Olympics for a year or two, which would affect the four-years' rotation between the Winter and Summer Olympics (the last year both Winter and Summer Games were held in the same year was 1992).

But what if, instead of moving the entire Olympics to one place, we split them up among multiple countries? Use facilities that have been used in previous Olympics, or go to other cities that have the necessary venues. Play the hockey games in Toronto (or, say, Philadelphia). Hold the skiing events in Norway, figure skating in Japan, luge in France, and so on. You could even reward countries where same-sex marriage is legal nationwide (which would take Philadelphia out of the running for hockey).

It would be a lot easier for each location to take on a small piece of the Olympics. Sure, people who normally travel to the Games wouldn't be able to attend the entire shindig, but it offers more opportunities for a variety of people, and even introduce new people to the Olympic experience. (Imagine Philly fans at Olympic hockey. Awesome.) And it would be a hassle for the television networks, but I'm sure they can combine their resources and solve the problem. For example, why can't one broadcast crew handle the hockey games for English-language networks? Take your pick -- NBC or CBC. (I vote CBC!)

Imagine. Instead of the Sochi Olympics, we could have the World Olympics.

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