A few days ago, I was listening to the local radio news1 regarding this year’s demographics for the 2014 XXII2 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Knowing that majority of the athletes have the average age of early-mid 20s, the demographics are a lot older, from the middle-aged to the senior age. It’s strange because I’ve always thought that the Olympics should appeal more to the younger ages, most especially with athletes, would-be athletes, and overall sports fans. I wonder what happened?
I started watching the Olympics, like most people, during the childhood years. At that time I was growing up in the “old country”3 and pretty much had no idea who to root for and who was who at that time. What I know was that I discovered and learned various sports, most especially the ones uncommon or ones that haven’t existed yet in my old country. That also included the Winter Olympics as well, where I was first introduced to figure skating, skiing, and all sorts of various sports. I was nowhere to being athletic but I had fun just watching others doing amazing things with their sports. It’s one of those reactions where it does make you feel at awe that a human being can do the impossible things possible. Take the new event, Snowboarding Slope-style, for example.
Growing up (and obviously my thinking was maturing in the process), I’ve always read a lot of controversies and issues that gets attached to every single Olympic event in any city. This year’s controversy happens to be that the Russian government passed a series of anti-gay laws that heavily affect the Russian LGBT community. The entire world, I’m sure, were not exactly thrilled to see this happening, however, it’s a good thing that these anti-gay laws does not reflect the Olympics by itself. After all, we know a lot of known decorated athletes from around the world who are also members of the LGBT community no matter what country they may come from. There are a lot of people here, including my friends, who are so outraged4 that they opted to boycott the Olympics by not watching it. Unfortunately (?) for me, they were angered when I said that controversial issues such as this shouldn’t interfere our love and interest in the Olympics in general.
I’m watching the Olympics because I love watching athletes from around the world compete for the sport they love all their lives. Politics or any other unrelated issue shouldn’t interfere with the Olympics just by the its location alone. I guess it would be like the UN Headquarters in New York and New York City itself, where NYC’s laws and regulations, let alone American laws, does not apply to the grounds that the UN Headquarters stand. I am also in support of the LGBT community, but I don’t find boycotting the Olympics simply because an “anti-gay” country is hosting it as supporting the LGBT community. I find watching athletes of any sexual orientation and cheering for their efforts as supporting them.
Again, if any one of you friends find my stance displeasing to you, then I have nothing to say. I won’t apologize for it either. I just have my own way of supporting the same causes. There’s nothing wrong with that.