I love Vai's take on this. Great story about the Russian perspective... and
by the way, thanks for knocking out Jose Canseco a few years back!
Vai, As usual, thanks for your great comments. As someone whose son served a
mission in Moscow, Russia, I couldn't agree more with your comments about
how we should appreciate Russia's efforts as Olympic hosts. I also
couldn't agree more with Cris Collinsworth about missions. Thanks!
Vai, as you said the Russians are a proud people. So proud they spent about 50
billion dollars to try to turn a little known resort town into a viable Olympic
venue. Being an Olympic host, there's a lot muscle flexing and I hate
using the term lipstick on a pig but there's a lot of that too. In
Russia's case they clearly want to show off their country to the world and
make Sochi a popular tourist trap. I suppose Rome wasn't built in a day
but when you become an Olympic host, criticism comes with the territory. Yes, a
lot of criticism is petty and silly but the good Russian people will either have
to address those concerns and get better or grow thicker skin.
Well said and absolutely true.
I think the overall premise of your column Vai is spot on. Only issue is the
extravagant spending on these games. Russia/Sochi somehow even managed to
surpass the Beijing Olympics by $7 billion ($51 billion in total) for an event
half the size (winter vs summer games). If they're willing to spend that
type of money on games and not deal with some of the more long-term issues like
healthy drinking water then they certainly better be prepared for some
criticism. Agreed that some of it may be unfair, but it's part of both the
good and bad of hosting the games.
Interesting piece, but Vai seems to miss or ignore the fact that some of the of
the "outrage," such as it is, turns around that likely prospect that
Vladimir Putin et all may have siphoned off billions that were earmarked for The
Olympics. Hence the brown drinking water, inoperable toilets, doors and
elevators that don't open as they should etc. I have nothing against Russia
or Russians. Quite the contrary. Putin, however, is a different matter.
I think Vai misses the point of the criticism. The west is upset with
Putin's pro-traditional family positions. His restrictions on the "gay
agenda" were the catalyst that made hating on the games acceptable. Safety
concerns are likely overblown (no country would send leaders if they thought
there would be an attack) but Obama can't be seen hanging out with someone
who is not hip. Too bad, it was his loss to be absent from the opening
Like just about everything else I've read from Vai, I could not agree more
with his take on this topic.I'm reminded of a episode of the
Ruby Wax talk show in the early 90's when she was showing herself being
escorted through the Moscow apartment of a woman who wanted dearly to show how
her life had improved following the breakup of the Soviet Union.Unfortunately, despite the almost desperate attempts by the very gracious
woman, Ruby, in her over-the-top example of extreme New York self-centered
haughtiness, did her best to show her contempt and disregard for the humble
apartment. I was so ashamed to know that the world viewed Ruby's behavior
as prototypical American. It gave me greater insight into why the term
"Ugly American" had become so prevalent in so many parts of the
world.The fact is that our system of government and economy has, in
fact, produced a nation of unprecedented success and accomplishment. Yet, it
has been done despite the atypical but still too frequent boorish and
thoughtless behavior of some of our fellow citizens.The more that
behavior becomes the norm, the less successful we will be.
The spending on the Olympics is Russia's business. As long as the Games
run the way they are supposed to go, then the rest of it is internal stuff for
the Russians (and to some degree the IOC) to worry about. Just enjoy the Games
and stop worrying about the rest of it. Vai is right on this. (And
I'm sadly surprised that one commenter here found a way to criticize Obama.
Good grief, give it a rest.)
$50 Billion spent by Russia on Olympics in Sochi.$3 Billion spent by
Salt Lake Olympic Committee with Romney's leadership.Thanks
Romney for keeping us out of bondage.