Vladimir Putin’s Olympics: The Opening Ceremony Torchbearers
If there was any doubt that Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, is in charge of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, take a look at the six athletes who were chosen for the honor of carrying the Olympic Flame inside the stadium during the climax of the otherwise superb Opening Ceremony. Only two of the torchbearers were winter athletes.
- Hockey goalkeeper Vladislav Tretiak, a member of parliament from Putin’s United Russia party
- Pairs figure skater Irina Rodnina, a member of parliament from Putin’s United Russia party
- Wrestler Alexander Karelin, a member of parliament from Putin’s United Russia party
- Rhythmic gymnast (and Putin “special friend”) Alina Kabaeva, a member of parliament from Putin’s United Russia party
- Pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, who, although not a member of parliament, got herself into trouble with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) because of her outspoken support for Putin’s anti-gay law.
Only tennis player Maria Sharapova, who lived in Sochi until she was six years old, has no political connection to the Russian president.
Three days before the Opening Ceremony, IOC President Thomas Bach said that the Olympics should not be used for “trying to score points in internal or external political contests.” Apparently Vladimir Putin didn’t get the message.
President, International Society of Olympic Historians
- Top Stories
- Unusual News
- Where is the Money Going?
- U.S. and the World
- Appointments and Resignations
- Latest News
- Pentagon Orders 10,000 Soldiers to Repay Bonuses a Decade after Serving in Middle East
- Retirement Plans are Worse for Teachers, Charities, Clergy and Non-Profits
- Opposition to Cleveland Indians’ Name and Logo to Get Bigger Spotlight at World Series
- Taking a Selfie is taking a Risk When You Cast Your Ballot … If You Don’t Know State Law
- Texas Included State’s Drunk Drivers and Child Support Evaders in Tally of “High-Threat” Immigrant Border Arrests