The 2014 Winter Olympics contained many warm fuzzy moments for Canadians: the Dufour-Lapointe sisters topping the women's moguls' podium, speedskater Gilmore Junio giving his spot to a teammate who went on to win silver, repeat gold medals for men's and women's hockey teams. But these glittering moments are powerful distractions, clouding issues from the Games. Before Sochi's Olympics fade into a shiny memory, let's round up some of the darker issues:
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I’ve been training for the Olympics coverage by reading former rower Silken Laumann’s autobiography, Unsinkable. It starts, like many such books, with her moment of triumph: on the podium at the 1992 Games less than three months after a vicious leg injury that would’ve stopped any other mortal.
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In June Russia, host of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, passed a federal law which will seriously impact the rights of Russians, all Olympic athletes, staff, volunteers and foreigners who are LGTTBQ (Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered, Two Spirited, Bisexual, Queer).
This has led to a call for a boycott of the Olympics. Calls for boycotts of the Olympics are not new tactics as a way to protest.
Game Over: How politics has turned the sports world upside down
Dave Zirin is the rare sportswriter who covers, in his words, the space "where sports and politics collide." His new book, Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down (New Press), explores the intersection of sports and politics over the past three years, touching on the London Olympics and their role in the city's anti-austerity riots, the lack of accountability after the Penn State sex-abuse scandals and the historic player lockouts in three out of the four major professional sports leagues.
We ought to consider R.A. Dickey, who's now No. 1 in the Blue Jays' starting rotation, not just a pitching asset but a cultural one. That isn't because he's a reader, though in one of many life crises he considered teaching high-school English. Nor that he's a writer, with a bestseller: Wherever I Wind Up.
It's because he's a reflector: he reflects on what he lives, and reflects the results back to us. That's what culture does. Creativity is less its essence, no one creates anything from scratch; that's one of the myths of art. What artists make is reflections on reality, including reflections on the reflections of others.