What are we going to do now that the 2012 London Olympics are over? Well, in about a year and a half, we’ll be able to enjoy the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The 2014 Winter Games won’t be held until February 7th, 2014, but preparations for the games are well underway.
According to the Wall Street Journal, this will be the first time that Russia has held a world sporting event since the fall of the U.S.S.R.
Russian President Vladamir Putin said that the 2014 Olympic Games will be a great source of pride for Russia and he hopes that the world sees how far the country has come since the fall of the U.S.S.R. Dmitry Chernyshenko, chief executive of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, said:
“These are our first Games… Previous one was in USSR; it was a different time and it was boycotted. For us this is a unique opportunity to break the stereotypes and tell the world our story — that Russia has a new face, it’s a new modern country with proper laws, with freedom for the media and with human rights. There is some criticism, and so on, but when the people, my friends, come to Russia, they can really learn that we change a lot. Russia deserves to be re-explored.”
The Winter Games in Sochi could turn out to be a great source for patriotism for the Russian people, but it will also bring heightened scrutiny. Jane Buchanan, a senior researcher on Europe and Central Asia for Human Rights Watch (HRW), said that Russia will find itself at the center of a human rights debate during the 2014 Olympics.
Buchanan hopes that the IOC will be able to improve some human rights issues throughout the 2014 games.
“Sochi will be next, and we really think the IOC — as it has on issues like the environment, like doping — can and will reform and see the importance of these issues and their direct relevance to the Olympic charter…. Russia has a very deep and serious human rights problem, and it’s gotten markedly worse since Putin came back to the presidency a few months ago — increasing restrictions on freedom of assembly and [non-government organizations] and the way they operate, in particular NGOs that criticize the government. That space is tightening even further.”
During the 2012 London Olympics, Russia was put in the spotlight after the music group Pussy Riot was arrested for singing a protest song about Putin. Do you think Russia will show the world how far it has come during the 2014 Winter Olympics? Or how far it has to go?
Are you looking forward to the 2014 Winter Olympics?