After watching the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremonies last night, there was one feature upon which I feel compelled to comment.
The moment in question was the brief yet undeniably poignant allusion to World War II. After the frenzied display that depicted the October Revolution of 1917, the entire stadium went black and all that could be heard was the sound of muffled artillery and dive-bombers’ “Jericho sirens”.
The Olympic Games are meant to be a place for friendly, unbiased sporting competition between nations, and should not be a platform for old prejudices or current military strength. However, I felt that this moment of remembrance in the ceremony was relevant and tastefully done. The Great Patriotic War, as WWII is called in Russia, is a great and storied part of the nation’s history, and as such, it deserved a mention.
Proud and reverent remembrance of the Great Patriotic War is taken very seriously in Russia (one needs only look at the annual Victory Day and November parades in Red Square to find evidence of this), and I found it very special that this monumental conflict was commemorated last night in a solemn, yet appropriately neutral, way.
I hope that the remainder of the Sochi Olympics will continue in the spirit of last night, and that a generous and unprejudiced spirit will permeate international relations more often than every Olympic year.