by Lydia Seaman
From Feb. 6 to 23, all eyes will be on Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The Olympics have traditionally been an international competition that joins athletes who represent the best of their home country; however, as the world prepares for this international spectacle, the games have been threatened by protests, bombings and terrorism. These attacks are a reminder that the world must put aside cultural and political differences and focus on the universal love of sports.
On Dec. 29 and 30, twin suicide bombings in Volgograd, Russia left 34 victims dead and nearly 50 injured, according toeconomist.com. Though these bombings happened six weeks before the games, the attacks caused the U.S. State Department to issue a warning to all American travelers who plan to attend the Sochi games as they are “an attractive target for terrorists,” according to bleacherreport.com. These destructive events endanger the people; however, warning the American people against attending the games contradicts the spirit of the Olympics, which were created to unite the world over the love of sports despite cultural differences.
The Olympics are an opportunity to promote fair play, tolerance and understanding. As International Olympic Committee President Mr. Thomas Bach emphasized, “In the relationship between sports and politics...the role of sports is to build bridges. It is never to build walls,” according to olympic.org.
Sports have been a forum of unity because there are universally understood laws and ethical standards. Over 200 countries participate in the Olympics, each representing various cultures and languages. Despite their diverse backgrounds, the athletes abide by the rules of the game. The rules of hockey are no different in Canada than they are in Japan.
With only a few weeks until the Sochi games, we must remember that these events were created to unite the world over a passion for sports, not to tear it apart.