Russia seeks Olympic win

In the 1890s, when French aristocrat Baron Pierre de Coubertin began promoting the idea of of world athletic competition modeled after the ancient contests in Greece, one of his arguments was that the games could help instill national pride, while at the same promoting international understanding and fostering peace.

So, it is unfortunately ironic that a major victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Winter Olympic Games unde way in Sochi, Russia, will occur only if the games run their allotted 16 days without a murderous terrorist attack shattering the spirit of brotherhood and competition.

We certainly hope that’s the case. The next two weeks should be about who’s the best on the ice and snow, but also about those who demonstrate grace and good sportsmanship in the face of adversity. And it should be about the friendships forged across national boundaries, not just about medal counts.

While there will be inevitable discussions about Russia’s policies regarding gays, thet shouldn’t distract from the achievements of the athletes, regardless of their sexual orientations.

Putin wants to show that Russia is as capable of hosting as gaudy a 21st century Olympic show as any country, and is secure enough to prevent terrorist attacks during the games.

Sochi seems like a dubious choice for making such statements. It’s a warm-weather resort that is relatively close to Chechnya, the scene of multiple terrorist attacks.

Even so, we hope the games proceed without a hitch. As de Coubertin said in the Olympic Creed he wrote: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part.”


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