In recent years, there have been clouds of controversy surrounding the Olympic Games. In 2016, there were major complaints in regards to the impact hosting the Games would have on the economy of Rio de Janeiro in addition to the construction delays in the Olympic facilities and the discovery of the Zika virus in Rio's waters.
Now, the Winter Olympics are being held in Pyeongchang in South Korea and there is a whole new list of potentially controversial issues being addressed including to the concerns of neighboring North Korea's growing nuclear resources (several nuclear missiles were test-launched just this summer). Several countries, including France, have threatened to keep their athletes at home for the Olympics if the security issues are not sufficiently solved.
In addition, the Russian doping scandal brought lots of attention to the IOC as they sanctioned 43 Russian athletes for using illegal drugs in the previous Olympic Games. Russian athletes that were not sanctioned will be allowed to participate but not under the Russian flag and the Russian anthem will not be played in the event that one of the athletes win a gold medal in the coming weeks.
Given all these issues and the obvious, and large economic burden the Olympics bring, it is no surprise that many people find the Olympics unnecessary.
There is certainly evidence that the Olympics do not promote international understanding and highlight the athlete but instead but burdens on the host cities, encourage corruption and doping and are even considered outdated.
However, the Olympics offer much more in cultural impacts that I think are worth fighting for. Right now, there are great levels of tension in America and across the globe, sometimes that tension is between political parties, other times it's on a literal nuclear level.
But the Olympics offer a stage of the best of the best to go out and represent their countries. For a few short weeks, the entire world will come together to celebrate the work these amazing athletes have put in over the course of several years. Each citizen of the world can cheer for their team and be proud of what it means to be a patriot in their country.
To some degree, I think the Olympics and being able to see people that can be humanizing. Often, we get caught up in stereotypes and cast these prejudices onto an entire culture and population of people. The athletes competing in the Games are just athletes, wanting to do the best that they can do and bring home a medal if they can.
The Olympics give everyone a reason to be proud of their nation, even if they are not too pleased with everything else their country may be doing. And it is a given that the cultural, emotional and entertainment values of the games do not outweigh the issues, but that doesn't mean the Games need to go, in fact, I think we need them more now than ever, just to see the world brought together for just a little while. Now if you'll excuse me, I am going to find out how to stream the whole ice skating competition.