Are the Sochi Olympics an international love-in, an escapist fable or a five-ringed circus? What about the host country’s politics? And is it too early to nominate Gilmore Junio for sainthood? Globe readers, print and digital, went for gold
John Doyle correctly reads the Winter Games as escapist fable (Sochi 2014: Is This Real Life Or Just Fantasy? – Life & Arts – Feb. 11). It seems many of us are willing, even eager, to turn away from the plain fact of corruption, human-rights violations and massive overspending in favour of fairy tales.
I’ve been struck by the number of people I know who have decided they won’t be watching the Olympics this year. For some, this comes after years of wondering why they even bother. As the volume of spending and hype climbs ever higher, the International Olympic Committee is poorly placed to understand that people may be starting to question the branding and sale of human excellence.
Esther Shannon, Vancouver
Many people are really excited about the Olympics and spending a lot of time watching it. Who cares how many medals your country wins? Why does it matter? What difference does it make to us?
Instead of getting so excited about the athletes’ accomplishments and victories, people should aim for accomplishments and victories in their own lives. Instead of watching sports, people should be playing sports. Instead of spending so much taxpayer money on the training of Olympians, it would be better for governments to fund training for regular people.
Ashu Solo, Saskatoon
Oh, let’s just face it. The Olympics are always a new real-estate project somewhere disguised as a circus.
Barbara Klunder, Toronto
I’m very happy to buy into the Olympics. I love to see my fellow Canadians achieve their dreams and aspirations after many years of hard work and dedication.
Ray Isaacs, Montreal
If an alien came to Earth during the Games, they would think, “This isn’t a bad place.” If only we could get the Olympic spirit to cover the whole planet every day, rather than just for a fortnight every four years!
Damaine Hinds, Southampton, England
Despite the cost overruns, the security measures and other negatives, something special takes place at each and every Olympics.
While most of us heartily embrace the morning adrenaline rush of Canadian medals and personal bests, another incredible and compelling subplot has begun to emerge. How refreshing to see a future skating star step aside to allow Denny Morrison to compete in his stead. (Classy Junio Surrenders Spot In 1,000 Metres To Morrison – Sports, Feb. 12). When this unselfish gesture is combined with the powerful image of Justin Wadsworth running out on the cross-country sprint course to offer a spare ski to Anton Gafarov (Canadian Coach Aids Fallen Russian Skier – Sports, Feb. 12), it can truly cause one to pause and reflect.
Perhaps the Olympic creed underscores these moments best: “The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well.”
No one can argue the success of Canada’s “Own the Podium” program, but we also appear to be among the leaders in an equally important category: sportsmanship.
Jeffrey Peckitt, Oakville, Ontario
Gilmore Junio is a perfect definition of a Canadian. I’d vote for him to carry our flag for the closing ceremonies.
Avtar Dhanota, Toronto
How about an Order of Canada nomination, too?
Gordon Piercey, Toronto
Who cares what team Mr. Wadsworth coached for – he showed compassion, a trait that the world could use more of in every country. Congrats and good on him for giving the world a positive thing to talk about.
Tana Colebank, Prince George, B.C.
A moment that reflects the ideals of the Olympic Games and calls upon nations to realize that co-operation between countries can only lead to betterment and success.
Drew Kenyon, Rochester, N.Y.
“Perfectly Canadian”? Then why is it so hard for someone to even hold a door open for me in Toronto? This is just a human helping a fellow human. Being Canadian has nothing to do with it.
Callum Bramley, Toronto
I’m trying to enjoy the Games, but the whole time I’m thinking, “The host country persecutes homosexuals and the rest of the world just plays along.” The world should have turned its back on Sochi and the IOC. It’s shameful that we didn’t boycott these Olympics.
Andy O’Gorman, Calgary
The Olympics are about coming together and celebrating the good things. The Olympics were in Canada, where we don’t treat everybody nice, either, just ask the First Nations. The point is, there are problems everywhere. The Olympics are only every four years – don’t muck them up with politics.
Jordan Krost, The Pas, Man.
While I respect the athletes, the conditions in Russia against a persecuted minority is appalling and unfortunately, and undeniably, outweighs the positive aspects of the Olympics. We are asked to show pride in Canada, but how can we be proud of turning a blind eye to the oppression of the weak by the hate of the strong?
Julian Benson, Toronto
No matter what we think of the Russian government, the Olympic Games in Sochi are being hosted by the Russian people and they don’t deserve to be treated in this way. No matter where they’re held, the Olympic Games belong to the world; the hosts, athletes and public don’t deserve to have the Games blemished by this level of attention.
Rick Tone, Whitehorse
ON REFLECTION Letters to the editor
Sochi is worthy of news coverage, but every CBC newscast – radio, television, network, local, Newsworld – that I’ve tuned into since a week before the Games began has led with the Olympics and stayed with them at the expense of much other news. The tone wavers between giddy gushing and unashamed jingoism (The CBC Has Corrupted Itself By Giving In To Olympic Demands – online, Feb. 11).
As the official broadcaster, the corporation can broadcast as much Olympic coverage as they want throughout the day and into prime time, but they don’t have to dominate the news as well.
Matthew Cope, Westmount, Que.
Senators Brazeau, Duffy and Wallin have become such pariahs that the Harper government will introduce legislation to ensure they don't get pensions (10 Key Takeaways From This Year’s Budget – Feb. 12). Isn’t this overkill? None of the three has been convicted in a court of law, unless we consider the partisan vote of condemnation by their Conservative brethren in the Senate.
If their appointments were so bad, why not carry the punishment one step further? They were obviously unsuited to represent the Red Chamber when they were out raising funds for the Conservative Party, so ask the party to refund the money they collected.
John Steeves, Sussex, N.B.
Quebec Risks Closing Its Mind (Feb. 12) – it also risks losing its shirt. Louise Arbour writes that “just about everything has been said about the merits of the proposed Quebec Charter of Values,” but not enough has been said about the economic impact.
I am proud of my heritage in Quebec City, but am aghast at the idea of the charter and the impact on Quebec’s tourism and economy. In 1976, many Canadians celebrated the triumph of René Lévesque’s Parti Québécois, not because it would lead to separation but because it forecast a progressive future released from the constraints of an oppressive past. Premier Pauline Marois and her colleagues are putting that future in jeopardy.
Peggy Hutchison, Singhampton, Ont.
Everyone’s a diacritic
I think it’s time The Globe and Mail starts using the letter “ñ” when spelling proper names in the Spanish language. Ever since Enrique Peña Nieto has been President of Mexico, you have been referring to him as Mr. Pena (Mr. Sad, Mr. Pity), when the name Peña actually means Mr. Rock (Ottawa’s Mexican Visa Policy Hurting Business, Manley Says – Feb. 11).
It is very disrespectful to the Mexican President and to the very large community of Spanish-speaking people in Canada. Fortunately for Mr. Peña, his last name is not Año.
Juan Rodriguez, president, Immigration Interpreters Association, Toronto