Dr Amanda Cahill-Ripley
The 2014 Winter Olympics commenced in Sochi, Russia this week. However the event is not without controversy. Many people will have seen the BBC Panorama episode ‘Putin’s Games’ last week investigating alleged human rights violations connected to the hosting of the XXII Winter Olympiad. What will have been shocking to some is the hugely negative impact a mega event such as the Olympics can have on the local environment and people. The International Olympic Committee’s binding Olympic Charter 2013 includes The Fundamental Principles of Olympism, which provide that:
‘Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles. The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.’
These are admirable principles to hold. However the reality of the preparations for these games has resulted in actions by the Russian authorities and businesses that have been far from ethical, and which are threatening to human dignity.