Thank you to Sharon Vincz Andrews, Bloomington, Indiana, for this guest blog.
The Olympic torch is making its way across Russia. January 9th it arrived in Saransk, Moldavia where 250 torchbearers on skis and BMX bikes covered the streets. January 12th, 190 citizens of the Russian city of Tambov hosted the torch as it moves toward Sochi, ending in a ceremony that included the largest winter hat ever knitted—6.2 miles of wool yarn to make!
While joy and ethnic merriment accompany this flaming symbol, discontent and even anger seem to be brewing onsite in the southern resort town of Sochi on the Black Sea—the Olympic village itself. A state-of-the-art speed skating arena, a vast complex of hotels, and a new high-speed rail system have been viewed as “a living nightmare” by locals. “Critics at home and abroad have slammed what they call corruption and mismanaged spending of mythic proportions.”
Progress versus resistance? Ethics versus corruption? How does the clear spiritual thinker support this international effort at cooperation and brotherhood? Mihir Bose of The Guardian, who carried an Olympic torch in the 2006 Turin Winter Games gives us some clues: “Sport is simultaneously a global language and a creator of personal and local identity. A contest in a popular sport is one of the few experiences which can be understood, and excite passion, by people all over the world regardless of language, culture or intellect.”