By Alex Ripepi
Assistant Opinions Editor
The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi have been plagued with scandal since the inception of the event, and more are popping up day by day.
From the beginning, it was apparent that gay athletes aren’t truly welcome in Sochi, a town whose mayor, Anatoly Pakhomov, has made the statement that there are no gay people in Sochi.
In addition, Pakhomov had said in relation to homosexuality, “… we just say that it is your business, it’s your life. But it’s not accepted here. We do not have th in our city.” This rejection of an entire group of people is blatantly insulting, and sending our athletes into an unwelcoming and possibly dangerous environment seems irresponsible and dismissive.
On the heels of this issue though, is the culmination of civil unrest in the Ukraine. Peaceful protests devolved into rioting and even the seizing of the Ukraine Justice Ministry. Kiev, the capitol of the Ukraine is approximately 850 miles from Sochi, and although the distance seems staggering, a very clear danger is still present; the protests began due to the backing out of a plan to join the European Union, a decision that was made due to a supposed need for closer ties with Russia.
However, this isn’t even the biggest possibility for danger this Olympic season.
A group of terrorists know as black widows, women who are meant to carry out suicide bombings, have been spotted in central Sochi.
While the two previous conflicts that have arisen this year seem sort of intangible nuisances, this group presents an extreme danger not only to Russian locals, but the thousands of tourists that flock to the games. In a world in which the Olympics have been breached by terrorists in the past, this insecurity and the acceptance of it are unacceptable.
While the Olympics are a worldwide celebration of unity in sports, an outside observer of this year’s incidents would be appalled at the lack of cohesion between the participating nations.
In fact, as a country that participates in the Olympics, we should be mortified that such controversies are being dismissed by the recommendation that tourists attending the events act “less American” in order to avoid conflict.
If this is how we respond to such struggles, then the union that these games are supposed to represent is dead and gone.