The Olympic Truce

I'm really into sports. Okay, not really, at all. Just once every two years, when the ultimate sporting event occurs, when nations from all over the world gather to compete. Maybe it's because I tend towards individual sports, which are more highlighted in the Olympics. Maybe because, deep down, I really enjoy politics, in its purist sense, the idea of multiple countries interacting. But I typically root for my homeland, Finland, or where I've lived, Morocco, or where I want to live, the Yemen.

So I've been watching the Olympics this first week, non-stop: gymnastics, diving, shot-put, track, and swimming. It's been on my mind. Which has lead me to look up a lot of issues around the Olympics. And I came across these interesting issues on that great source for accurate information, Wikipedia. (I'm trying to follow in McCain's footsteps.)

In 1914, the VI Olympiad didn't happen. It didn't, because of a world war. It had been scheduled to take place in Berlin. Interestingly, there were new events scheduled in that games, for the first time, a week of winter sports.

In 1940, the XII Olympiad likewise didn't occur. It had been awarded to Tokyo, and Tokyo was stripped of the right to hold the games, after the Second Chinese-Japanese War. Then WWII occurred, and there was no Olympics. The V Winter Olympiad didn't occur, being alternately awarded to Sapporo, Japan, and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, countries which obviously became far too involved in wars of agression. The XIV Olympiad in London and the (reattempted) V Winter Olympiad in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy of 1944 also were stopped by WWII. And again, an interesting aside is that the 1940 Games were supposed to have the sport of gliding (in non-powered planes)- never repeated since then.

Why this historical digression? I also had some fun looking at future Olympics sights. The furthest out that we have a definite city determined is for the XXII Winter Olympiad. That's in less than ten years. The Olympics in 2014 will take place in Sochi, Russia. Russia's a big country, and I had to look up where Sochi is.

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Sochi's 18 1/2 miles from the border of Georgia. Yes, that Georgia. In fact, it's 18 1/2 miles from the border of Abkhazia, that other break-away republic from Georgia, which Russia has now invaded and controls, along with Ossetia. Sochi is only 76 miles from the capitol of Abkhazia, Sukhumi.

In six short years, will this conflict have been fully resolved? Will we have true peace between Russia and Georgia, so that they will be able to work together on the Games? Will participation in Sochi, so close to a war zone, be safe? Will some countries consider another boycott because of Russia's invasion? Or will the IOC follow precedent, and withdraw the right for Sochi and Russia to host these games, because they have violated the spirit of the Olympics be engaging in a war, a war right next to the future sight of the Olympic Games?

Is there perhaps a reason why Georgia and Russia upped this conflict on the eve of these XIX Olympic Games?


Omar said…
As all your posts, this is very enlightening. I didn't view all this mess between Russia and Georgia in such a way. It's very bad and disappointing that sports has to be mixed up with politics.

Your dream places are all wonderful: Finland, Morocco and......... Yemen!

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