I was not around in 1972 to experience the dramatic and intense summit series between Canada and the Soviet Union, however I have read a lot about the event and heard many stories from hockey fanatics who had the pleasure of experiencing it live.
The Summit Series was an immensely important event in both sports history as well as political history, as Canada had it's chance to shine on the international scene and take the place of defender of freedom from the United States for the first time. Our battle was not won with weapons or mass propaganda, but with sticks to the ice and skates pushed to the extreme. Both teams played an excellent round of hockey and in the end the Canadian team not only maintained exclusive bragging rights, but provided the Soviet Union with a message that certainly humbled any sense of ego they maintained.
Sochi 2014 contains the same mood that dominated the Summit Series of 1972. This mood is displayed not so much in nationalism, since Russia is but a fraction of what the Soviet Union was at the time. No, the mood for Sochi takes the emphasis on bragging rights and switches it over to freedom and equality.
It is no secret that Vladamir Putin and his government have a severely prejudiced stance toward individuals from the LGBT community. So strong is this prejudice that Putin is not afraid to make his feelings public and garner strong support for the cause. Whether the strength for this support is genuine or rather out of fear is debatable, however what is known is that any kind of protest or public discussion will be under heavy scrutiny and surveillance.
While Canada played in the Soviet Union, it was well known that at any time Soviet guards could take any member of the team away and lock them up. It almost happened a few times, but was thwarted by the strength and bond of the team players who literally restrained their own people as guards attempted to detain them. The Sochi Olympic games I fear will be no stranger to this type of attitude and vulgarity.
Our athletes and for sure their American counterparts will not only be participating in Sochi for the chance to beat the Russians to the gold, but also to make a strong point that equality among all men and women is not only the right thing to accept, but the only truth to accept among the international community.
Although I am not a member of the LGBT community, I stand by the vigilant efforts made by activists attempting to have their rights brought to the surface in an effort to find solutions rather than hide and allow problems to escalate. Society is functioning just as good as ever and Canada is an example to the world regarding not only the acceptance of gay members of society, but also as an invitation to all people regardless of colour or orientation.
Sochi begins in the early days of February and while the event may simply be viewed as a sporting one, it will be so much more given the months leading up to it. Homosexuals will now be given a chance to make a stronger mark on the international scene and ensure that their voices are heard and for the sake of freedom and equality, it has become our duty as citizens of the free world to support them fully.
Russia will be given the opportunity to not only lose again to Canada, but also view the error in its ways, which in reality will most likely not come to many as a surprise, because the majority of Russians most likely support gay marriage and homosexuality. Having a government feed you fear propaganda regarding a group of individuals within your society can easily sway your thoughts on the subject, but that does not mean everyone is easily convinced.
So, on behalf of the Political Road Map, with much pleasure, I give my best wishes to all of the athletes of the Sochi Winter Olympics and I sit here content in knowing that among everything else, Russia and Vladimir Putin will be given a rude awakening with regards to the political direction chosen regarding homosexuals in general.
The Olympics are about inclusion, fair competition and solidarity among men and last I heard...members of the LGBT community shared every characteristic any other human being does; they laugh, they breathe and they cry when their name is called to the podium and they accept their medals. Most importantly however, they love and when you look at the basics, there is no filter when it comes to an individual taking part in their biological and human given right to love another person.
Until Next Time...