“Think long and hard before you evoke the spectacle of Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin—thus far the model for the West’s approach to Putin—or argue that winning LGBT athletes will “show ‘em” in Sochi. In 1935—as in 2013—the International Olympics Committee was keen to pretend that sporting events could wash a clearly politicized setting of its politics, or wipe a dirty city clean. IOC chair Count Henri Baillet-Latour was content with Chancellor Adolf Hitler’s promise that anti-Semitic placards would be taken down during the Olympic games the next year. [snip]
“We have a chance to do things differently in Sochi than we did in Berlin. Let’s start with skipping the part where we appease a dictator, and instead give a damn about what’s happening beyond the scrubbed streets of the Olympic Village. Let’s lose the naïve notion that the wins of a few remarkable LGBT athletes will make any difference to the mobs of Neo-Nazi vigilantes luring gay teens with online ads, then kidnapping and torturing them—a process they like to videotape and post online for their admirers to enjoy. Let’s focus on forms of protest that will have an impact in locations beyond Sochi—actions that will continue to impede the progress of Putin’s Final Solution even once the crowds and the cameras leave.” – Nancy Goldstein, writing for the American Prospect.