The XXII Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, have officially begun. The opening ceremonies have been nothing short of magical. Truth be told, the show surpassed every expectation. Some of us were not quite sure what to expect. We were pleasantly entertained, by the flawless presentation that filled our senses with colours, images and music, simply coming together to tell us a story. We were all transported into a virtual world that told a tale of a great country and, most importantly, of an even greater people who endured, persevered, emerged victorious, and became stronger than ever before. Most salient, perhaps, were the images of the little girl climbing effortlessly on invisible steps taking her, we are left to understand, to greater heights. The stark and decisive statement at the very beginning that came to us via giant screen at the stadium, was unequivocal regarding the intentions, ideas, and philosophy of the Russian people through the ages. Those images left us an indelible record of what Russia has been all about, and the reasons why we are, often drawn to regard and love her as if she was also our own mother.
The perfectly choreographed chronological rendition of Russian history was exquisitely presented on the ground of the Fisht Olympic stadium, and laid out the stages of Russian history that, essentially, made what the country is today. It showcased its very beginning, ancient past, recent past, and the present, and embraced it all. For some of us, most poignant was the part of the show when we saw Russia re-emerge into the light after the obscurity of the Soviet Era.
We have been reminded of the cultural, and technical achievements Russia shared with the world, making us all that much richer, and more empowered as human beings.
We have been reminded of the inherent strength, creativity, and basic goodness of the Russian people.
The controversies, gratuitous, and deliberate attacks, the politically motivated bashings, and the exaggerated security fears did nothing to diminish the auspicious beginnings of the Sochi Games.
Let us not forget that Russia has recently entered the new century as a, practically, new nation, and the Russians have embraced their new country and new life.
Russia’s growing pains are our pains. We cry and we laugh alongside our brothers and sisters of this great nation. We embrace them and work with them so that they shall be successful. We support them every step of the way as they tackle their issues and potential problems facing them now and in the near future. Most of all, we shall hold their collective hands and sing with them a song of victory of a united, indomitable humanity.
These games began, they shall continue, and they shall end, leaving us teary eyed, and rejoicing in the bravery, and physical prowess displayed by the athletes. We essentially join with them and move with them towards a common goal.
These Olympic Games are not about controversy. Russia, let us not forget, has nothing to prove to the rest of the world. These games are ultimately about the athletes, athletic achievement, and the glorification of the human spirit. From Athens to Sochi, this has always been what is all about.