The Legacy Continues

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Safety first! Unless you’re not on the list.

Safety first! Unless you’re not on the list.

Safety of athletes should come first

Article: John Loeppky – Contributor

[dropcaps round=”no”]C[/dropcaps]an I ask you one question? Since when did the Olympics morph from being a slightly dubious good-will engine powered by underfunded sports into an egotistical, underhanded, shady as all hell enterprise which specializes in putting dollar signs (or Rubles) before the safety of athletes?

As an athlete in a major Paralympic sport (you’ll see why I added this preface in a few words), I am hoping that we don’t have more eligible athletes after the games than we did before. While it would be great for the sport, I do not want to see Roberto Luongo as the starting goalie for the sledge hockey team in 2018. I think that the statement “Well, Sochi will be the safest place in Russia for those two weeks,” is like saying “it’s safe, just don’t go near transportation hubs, avoid large gatherings, and make sure that you do not attract attention.” A safety plan with that many caveats is as faulty as a Russian figure skating judge’s evaluation of a long routine.

This is to say nothing of the swift and hateful crackdown on the LGBTQ community that the world seems to highlight occasionally. Hi, mainstream media. Could you please – for the love of all things good and sporty – mention the fact that people who fly rainbow flags at the games could be putting themselves in danger? This hostile environment flies straight in the face of “the moral beauty” of the Olympics that was described by the founder of the International Olympic Committee.

I realize that culture is an important consideration here and that this hatred of certain groups is not something that has made a sudden appearance. Having said that, shouldn’t places where the equality that we, us know-it-all armchair bobsledders (or whatever you’re into), always champion, is denied also be stripped of the chance to hold this upstanding (read: corrupt) sporting event? This year it’s intolerance and lack of safety, and 2016 looks to be the year of the Olympic environmental disaster.

This brings me to a new idea inspired by the Chinese New Year. What if we name each Olympic year after its corresponding controversy? For example, London 2012 could have been the year of the lip-syncing, 2008 the year of underage gymnasts choking on air pollution (not as creepy as it feels to type) and 2014 the year of the terrorist threat. All that being said, if we eliminated every single country with hate issues, we would be holding the event on the Moon. Maybe that’s the point of the excursion to Mars, to find a place where the events can be held without persecution or, you know, oxygen.

[button style=”e.g. solid, border” size=”e.g. small, medium, big” link=”” target=””]Image: Sludge G[/button]

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