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February 20, 2014

RONN MOTT: The Olympics

I have to say these Olympics are doing well. Especially since it’s the Winter Olympics and they seem to be doing it without snow! It isn’t the first Olympics to manufacture snow for ski slopes and such, and the way the weather is going, it may not be the last.  

I thought the opening show that started the Olympics was very, very good. Sochi is a favorite summer resort of the Russian people. Now, after the Winter Olympics and all the money spent on it, they’re hoping it will become a winter resort for Russia and the general area.

Every Olympics turns up a surprise or two and this one is no exception. The American figure skaters have not done well and it has been one of our strengths. Of course, the competition isn’t over yet but it doesn’t look good for us. On the other hand, the experts weren’t giving our hockey team much of a chance to make the medal round. At this point, it looks as if they were wrong! But a lot of games are left to be played, so time and the ice will tell the tale.  

Frankly, I’m glad to see President Putin there and all over the place cheering his national teams on. After all, he has spent billions of dollars to put this thing on and make it a success.

I think we should consider a permanent fixture for the Olympic Games. The ancient Greeks did and it makes more sense today to do it than even at its beginnings. I think building an Olympic city, one time once, is a much smarter thing to do than having a nation go bankrupt spending all this money to fly their flag a little higher. I know I’m just shooting blanks at this idea, but think about it … all of the nations of the Olympic Committee donating a sum of money for this cause makes more sense, I believe, than having a nation spend billions of dollars just to host the Games.

I think the judging and the officiating have been about as good as they’re going to get for the Olympic Games. I haven’t heard about anyone saying there were shyster moves being made on the officiating and it seems to be going as planned.   

I don’t suppose the ratings will be great because of the time differences, but I did get up to watch a 7:30 a.m. hockey game between Russia and the USA team. And, as some other wag said, “It was the best hockey game I ever saw at 7:30 in the morning.” And the game I got up to watch … we won!

I write this column days before it gets to its destination, but it appears we are doing OK in the medal collection. The Winter Games have never been the USA’s strong suit, but we appear to be doing better and that’s a good thing. I hope the remainder of the Games are finished before any controversy or terrorist attacks, and I hope the boys and girls in the USA uniforms continue their good collection of Olympic medals. Other than the hockey game that ended in a shoot-out in overtime with Russia, I haven’t been too concerned whether I see it or not. I don’t know if that’s an old man’s jaded attitude or whether I only get excited about beating the Russians. Old habits are hard to break.

We only have two more years before another Summer Olympics. So I’ll save my eye strain, staying up late, for those Games. My message for Vladimir Putin is … “Don’t get uptight, just enjoy your country’s effort and contribution to good Winter Games.” (Yeah, like he’s going to listen to me.)

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.

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