I don’t care if every event is on tape-delay for the rest of my life, I really can’t stand the thought of ESPN airing the Olympics starting as early as 2014 (wherever that might be). Just think of it, instead of Bob Costas and Brian Williams of NBC News, we’ll get Chris Berman, Stuart Scott and all your other favorite arsehole talking heads polluting what is already the muddy waters of the Olympics. NBC has done a great job of being mostly understate, of having restrained commentators and for not overly promoting other things on their channels during actual coverage. I can see it now, all-around gymnastics finals, in between the final two competitors, a brief plug saying: “Don’t forget to tune in Sunday evening for the the New York Liberty taking on the LA Sparks. The WNBA on ESPN.”
Not that anyone cares about the 2014 Winter Olympics at this point, but take this into consideration. The games will be held in the southwestern Russian city of Sochi, a seaside city on the Black Sea. The country closest to Sochi is Georgia, the small nation from whence Joseph Stalin came, among others. Today Russian tanks began crossing the border into Georgia, attacking villages and according to Georgians, targeting civilians. The Georgian army has shot down two Russian planes as well.
At this point it is difficult to say what will happen in this part of the world. There have been the rumblings of revolution in the South Ossetia region for some time and less than three hundred miles to the east lies the Republic of Chechnya, long the thorn in the side of the Kremlin. There is a history of games taking place in areas that seemed near major conflict with the Sarajevo games of 1984, the Berlin games of 1936 and even these Beijing games this year.
Sochi won the right to host over PyeongChang, South Korea and Salzburg, Austria, so conceivably if things go disastrously wrong in Georgia over the next few years, the games could be relocated. Or they could just put them in St. Moritz or Innsbruck, cities that have been back-up hosts in past winter games.