Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Kerrzy’s Notebook: (Strange) Olympic Drama!

There is already trouble brewing in Russia ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi!

Is it infrastructure worries? No. Oh, plans for the athlete’s village are going to end up costing taxpayers big money? Well maybe, but no. Are people demanding a recount after a nationwide vote on the weekend to determine the mascots for the games? Yup!

As silly as that might sound, it was people like Russia’s president and some other political leaders sounding off about the decision on Monday and criticizing the process by which they were chosen. Let me ask you this: Do you even remember what the mascots for the Vancouver Winter Games were (without using the internet)? I don’t!

When all was said and done on Saturday, three mascots rose above the rest: a polar bear, a snowboarding leopard and a rabbit…and the organizing committee says there won’t be a recount.

According to the Canadian Press, president Dmitry Medvedev says he doesn’t believe the voting reflects “the people’s will,” adding that earlier, unofficial internet voting showed different results. Yes, leave it to (free) unofficial internet voting to give you dependable numbers!

The polar bear itself is a source of controversy as well, believe it or not!

The mascot of the 1980 Moscow Olympics was also a bear and its creator is calling this new version a “rip-off” of his design. Viktor Chizhov drew up Misha the bear a few decades ago and says the eyes, nose, mouth and smile were all lifted from his design. Have a look for yourself:

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I suppose there are similarities there, but at the end of the day we’re talking about a smiling bear. It’s not that creative in the first place and Chizhov didn’t invent the bear when he made Misha…so basically he’s mad that they didn’t make it an angry-looking bear who is showing his teeth.

Here are the other two:

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The leader of the Just Russia party had this to say about the three mascots: The leopard is "a bloodthirsty animal, it doesn't evoke any happiness. The bear is a most stupid animal. And the rabbit is a coward, it's always running.”

Yeah, that’s right! Go eat a carrot you cowardly rabbit! Can you believe we’ve actually got a politician taking the time to diss bears and rabbits here? I love it.

As bad as they might think their mascots are, at least they’re not as weird as the London 2012 ones!

Speaking of the 2012 games, there’s a different type of controversy brewing ahead of that event. Unlike the Russian drama though, it’s the (almost as strange as the mascots) logo that has certain groups causing a stink!

ESPN reports that Iran is threatening a boycott of the games because of the “racist” logo – they say it resembles the word “Zion,” which is a term from the bible that is widely recognized to refer to the city of Jerusalem. The country’s secretary general also wants other Muslim states to oppose the logo and perhaps even avoid the event altogether.

Here’s the thing though: If it’s such an offensive piece of work, why did Iran wait until 2011 (and not 2007) to say something? If anything, it looks like “ZOI2” or “ZIO2” anyways, not Zion. You know what else it looks like?

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I think Matt Groening should be giving someone a call…

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