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    Posted February 23, 2014 by
    Sochi, Russian Federation
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Winter Olympics 2014

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    Are the Olympics worth it?


    When I heard that Russia spent approximately $50 billion on the Olympics in Sochi, which cost more than all other Olympics combined, I had to ask myself, "is it worth it?"


    From before the torch entered the Olympic Village, reservations were widespread as threats from terrorists groups caused concern and fear among athletes, families and fans. Could Russia assure the safety of those in attendance? Apparently they can. And while Kiev burned, the Olympics carried on with no attacks to date. I hope it will continue that way.


    I find it pretty pathetic that Russia outlawed "gay propaganda" and that the homeless of Sochi, including dogs, were forced out or sacrificed to save face for Russia. The whipping of Pussy Riot by Cossacks hired for security was a farce. What were they thinking? Maybe that was set up for the viral video value?


    The fact that Sochi is not a winter resort may be because there is not enough reliability for snow during the winter sports season. The conditions were far from optimal. The site is not really appropriate for a winter event of such proportion. In fact, the number of suitable sites for Winter Olympics is dwindling as fast as the ice in the Arctic. Climate change has thrown the Olympic committee for a loop. How can they choose a site with so much unpredictability in weather forecasts?


    On top of everything else, there are valid allegations that some of the Olympic judges are biased, or worse, involved in fixes. That one of the judges on the committee was barred from judging for a year because of corruption makes me wonder if any of the judges can really be trusted. If they can't find judges with integrity, they need some serious changes.


    Billie Jean King is a living legend. I was a big tennis fan when I was in high school. I even traveled into New York City to watch her play live at the Virginia Slims women's tennis tournament. I admired her skills on the court and her diplomacy off of it. She has been a champion of gay rights for decades.  I respect her words regarding the Sochi Olympics:


    “Sometimes it’s good to go to places where things aren’t good,” King said. “Sometimes you can help change by going to places where it’s difficult.”


    Maybe in the end, the Olympics does more good than harm. I am not sure.


    What do you think?


    Read more:




    Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivT-I-yxtdY




    photo of King: http://bulgebull.wordpress.com




    Russian hug judge/gold medalist:


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