Sochi Social & Political

By Lamia and Rania 73

International Issues

There are many freedoms and luxuries that the Olympic athletes must sacrifice to have their 2014 games hosted in Sochi, but this isn't the first time that we've faced things like discrimination and animal abuse. In fact, in the past we've also faced heavy racism and sexism. Throughout this article we will not only be revisiting the social and political issues of the past, but also visiting the ones of the Olympics held in Sochi, Russia.

Gay Rights Are Gone?

Problems For Putin

President Vladimir Putin has assigned a law stating that anyone who is gay, or even promotes gay rights, is not allowed to show it in any way whatsoever. The original law stated that gays were not allowed to participate at all, however, those sent from their home country are surprisingly being accommodated so long as they do not promote homosexuality. Putin has assigned this law so that children shan't be exposed to nontraditional love and stick to the "normal" way, man and woman. Any gay kisses or rainbows being displayed at Russia could even lead to arrest. There are heavy penalties for those who even promote gay rights. Because of this, people are willing to get arrested and be penalized just to open justice to the terrible law. No one was quite on board about the idea of the Olympics being in Sochi, but the IOC had made their decision and wouldn't agree to change it. "It can't just be 'friendship and solidarity except for gay people'" said Norman Bellingham, better than anyone else. When the Jews went to Germany for the 1936 Berlin Olympics hosted by none other than Adolf Hitler, no harm to them took place, in fact, regarding the Jews, all was well. However, when homosexuals wished to go to Russia, they were forced by Sochi to keep their gay identities a complete secret from anyone and everyone if they were selected. It is absolutely not allowed to promote gay rights in front of children-- that is a huge offence, in fact. The possibilities of there being anything from a bombing to a shooting at Russia isn't far from likely, and so anyone from either side, the pro-gay community or the anti-gay community could cause major problems over at Sochi during the games, and even in general, Russia isn't a very safe place. This is why many athletes are requesting their parents to stay home rather than watch them play, as saddening as it is. This law is ruining the global view of Russia rather than improving it, and that is in more ways than one.

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Russia Declares Discrimination Newest Olympic Sport

Stray Dogs In Sochi

Street Dogs To Safety?

President Vladimir Putin has been accused of killing stray dogs to clear off the streets of Sochi before the 2014 Olympic games began. Activists have protested against Putin as few people claim to see dead dogs lying on the street. "Killing street dogs, whether through poisoning, shooting or other means is not only inhumane, but also ineffective" said Andrew Ronan, Humane Society's group executive. Despite this, International Olympic committee spokesman Mark Adams said the dogs were being sent to a sanctuary after they were caught and added "It would be absolutely wrong to say that any healthy dog is being destroyed!" However, this doesn't buy into most who claim to have seen dogs being killed firsthand, and have frankly even taken pictures. He did, however, say that no healthy dogs were being killed. The media has seen this quote and believes Mark implied that the unhealthy dogs were being killed on the spot, which is causing a social uproar and heavy assumptions. Whether the dogs are being killed or taken to a sanctuary, and we can not assume directly which is true or not, president Vladimir Putin has stated that by doing this, they are improving Russia's image as a country who does not allow wild animals to simply run around freely-- a clean, safe environment, as well as clearing up the streets for arenas and ceremonies.

Horrifying Hotels

Budget Used Well?

Two days before the athletes arrived at Sochi for the 2014 Olympics, hotel construction was still underway, and wasn't looking too good either. Even after construction completed, there is still toxic water, open toilets, no floor, curtains or shower, broken lifts, no extra keys or hot water, and extremely small beds for only the world's greatest Olympic athletes in most hotels. Even with the enormous budget of $50 billion, Russia is still not using most of it to support the athletes, but rather their attempt at a flashy opening ceremony and huge sports arenas. This may be affecting their performance, as the conditions in most hotels are not qualified to give some of the greatest athletes in the world a good night's sleep.

Below: This is sadly as good as it gets.

The Political and Social Past

Women To Win?

Women started competing in the Olympics in the year 1900 at the Paris Olympics-- 4 years after the first modern Olympics took place. Even then, only 22 women out of 997 athletes competed. Most people agree that sexism in the Olympics have ended, however, this year is the first that women are allowed to participate in ski jumping. Ski jumping was first introduced exclusively to men in the first Winter Olympics, the one that took place in 1924 at Chamonix, France. In the London 2012 Olympics, Ye Shiwen broke the 400 meter individual medley world record for swimming, but she wasn't congratulated whatsoever. She was actually accused of doping by Great Britain and was forced to take multiple tests to confirm that a women from China could be that good. Most people still can't believe that Charlotte Copper, who was the first woman to ever win the Olympics with five championship awards could even pull that off. However, after all these years, discrimination against women has died down quite a bit. The IOC, in fact, for the Sochi 2014 Olympics has prohibited any country from participating who shall not allow their women to do so, and quite surprisingly, the only two countries that this currently applies to is Brunei and Saudi Arabia. To this day, the number of women athletes participating in the Olympics is increasing dramatically!


Harper's Still At Home?

It would seem that the only Olympic action President Obama and Prime Minister Harper will be seeing will be on their TV screen, as they are not attending the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. Harper, in fact, has only been to one Olympic game since his election, the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, and that is for obvious reasons-- the games were held in his home country. Regarding the U.S.A, It would appear that President Barack Obama has not been attending the Sochi Olympics either. Rather than going, Obama has assembled a small committee that will go in his place, including people associated with the gay rights movement. For the first time since the year 2000, the U.S has not sent the president, the vice president, former president, or first lady to the Olympics. For both of these leaders, it seems that the only issue in their way is their busy schedule and heavy responsibilities.