Friday, February 7, 2014

The Winter Games Begin!

I watched the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony this evening with my daughter, and felt my heart filling with patriotic pride.  I love the Olympics, and I love the Winter Games more than the Summer Games (which I guess comes from how much I love Winter in general).  It was nice to see the huge contingent of athletes from the United States enter the arena.  The US athletes appeared confident and excited, and I only hoped that they wouldn't appear arrogant or disrespectful to the host country, Russia.  And it was neat to see the Russian's excitement over their own team of athletes as they entered.

While the ceremony was spectacular, as usual, it was the simple things that I enjoyed most, like the singing of the Russian national anthem, which was boldly sung by a men's chorus.  What I didn't like were the numerous commercial interruptions, especially the length of the breaks.  I know NBC has to pay the bills, but, c'mon!  It's disappointing to think about just how much we viewers are missing, as I'm sure NBC has unnecessarily edited what is actually aired.  In addition, I didn't care for the commentators constantly interrupting the ceremony.  So much of it was unnecessary.  It was as if we, the viewers, wouldn't be able to figure out what was going on without their explanations.  However, given how much of Russia's history is bloodied by violence, I wondered how they would show it without glossing over too much.  It's one thing to recognize the millions who lost their lives during the war years.  It's another thing when it's the leader of their own country (Stalin) who is to blame for many of those deaths.

I was amused by the proud look on the Russian President, Vladimir Putin's, face.  He isn't someone that is easy to like, given his politics, and, as an American, it's hard for me to shake that feeling of Russia being a rival to the US.  I actually felt guilty about enjoying the ceremony, since I felt like I wasn't supposed to like it.  I know the spirit of the Olympics is the games themselves, and the politics of the world shouldn't be the focus.  It's just hard to separate the politics when the games are played in a country like Russia.

I hope the Winter Olympics are free from tragedy, and that the safety of the athletes and attendees comes first, especially given the rumors of possible terrorist activity.  I'm looking forward to many of the games, especially hockey, downhill skiing, bobsleds, and my favorite, curling.

Have a great evening, everyone!  Enjoy the Games!

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