Sochi – Politics or Sports?

With the winter Olympics upon us we ask students how they feel about the event. Is it about the politics surrounding it or are people able to disregard all the non-sports related media headlines and just focus on the sports?

Monica Nicolova (20) IBCoM from Bulgaria

“The headlines regarding the Winter Olympics have all been so negative it’s difficult to remember what the whole point of Sochi, which is really a sporting event. International events like this attract a lot of attention so interest groups find it a useful platform to voice their opinions or troubles. It’s a shame Russia has all these social problems and that their people feel oppressed or unheard but such competitions should be kept separate. Luckily, the athletes are still ready to go play and some of us who really love these sports still want to support and just watch them. I’m looking forward to  watch the Russian and Canadian hockey teams fight it out, like they did in Vancouver, in 2010. I follow our national expect a repeat of their epic battles on the ice. Being Bulgarian, I follow our national skiing and snowboarding teams although it’s hard to say how we’ll they’ll do but I’m glad they are participating.” 

Niklas & Paul (22 & 24) Strategic Management Masters, from Germany

Niklas: “Well we just came back from a snowboarding holiday together and we’re looking forward to watch this at the Olympics. I really enjoy the sports of it all while it’s safe to say Paul has a vested interest in the politics surrounding such events. We watch our national teams in our own events which are actually quite developed in terms of facilities and normally take place in Munich. The great thing about these international events is that all the countries can come together and show what they can do. It’s true competitiveness but it’s also very fair and only the best come out on top. Unfortunately, it is also about a country representing itself and ‘being strong’ on stage. We heard that Russia is putting more money into this event than all other Olympic budgets combined (50 billion euros). Of course, with that much attention, a country’s problems really come to light as we can see with Russia.”

Greg (20) RSM from Poland

“I watch the Olympics every time and it’s a very social thing for me where friends and family come together to cheer on our favorite athletes. It’s also particularly spectacular because there’s always this uncertainty of what could happen. The adrenaline rush I get during iconic moments like the setting of new world records or a crash can be incomparable. It’s a shame these events are tainted with political rhetoric by opportunistic politicians with very little regard for their country and people. It’s even worse that there is a real sense of a terrorist threat felt by Russians and visitors alike. Of course, international events are normally political, I experienced this when Poland hosted the European football championships in 2012. In Russia’s case, their problems have proven so big that it’s logical the way it has overshadowed the sports.”  NAH