Both the International Olympic Committee and Russian President Vladimir Putin erred in placing the Winter Olympics in Russia and specifically in Sochi, for the IOC granting the games to Russia and for Putin choosing Sochi, so close to the regions where terrorist attacks have occurred ("Terrorists threaten to crash Putin's party," Jan. 28).
While the ideals of the Olympics have been international cooperation and brotherhood linked with tolerance, the heads of the IOC have not represented these lofty principles. This started with Henri de Baillet-Latour who openly expressed his anti-Semitism and during whose term in office the games proceeded in Nazi Germany in 1936, this at the urging of Avery Brundage of the American Olympic committee. Included was the banning of German Jewish athletes from these same games.
Avery Brundage was notorious not only for being instrumental in stripping Jim Thorpe of his Olympic medals (incidentally, competing in the same events in 1912 where Brundage failed to medal) but for insisting that the 1972 games continue without pause after the murder of the Israeli athletes at Munich in 1972.
Three of his later successors have not been much better in representing the spirit of the Olympics, with Juan Antonio Samaranch, a notorious fascist and confidant of Franco, and his successor Jacques Rogge both using the IOC as a cash cow for their own lavish life style while still denying a moment of silence for the Munich massacre. And, now, current head Thomas Bach has a history of being a key player and head of the organization boycotting Israel coupled with anti-Semitic statements.
The recent furor over Russia and its intolerance toward gays, with acceptance of this stance by the leaders of the IOC, is only a repetition of the bigotry exhibited by the leaders of the IOC while they have enriched themselves during their terms in office. The awarding of the games to Russia was a serious mistake by the IOC. Let us hope that violence does not occur.
Nelson Marans, Silver Spring
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