And though there is still endless more opening ceremonies, Olympic flags to be flown, oaths to be taken, torches to be lit, etc., the two week plus festival that is the 2014 XXII-nd Winter Olympics has begun.
Every Olympics is controversy. For something that is supposed to be rooted in peace and fair play, the Olympics of the Modern Era are always suspect. This doesn't take away anything from the Games themselves.
Every Olympics is not ready. Especially in the two weeks leading up to the games, when the reporters show up -- and have nothing to do.
Every Olympics has problems with letting people in. And security has gotten tighter and tighter since Munich.
Good God the Olympics survived Adolf Hitler, the American and Soviet boycotts, and all the doping and judging and rigging.
I don't care.
Do I want to live in Putin's Russia? Do I think he's wrong about a lot of things? No and no.
But dammit, if every four (two) years we can gather together a massive international audience and huge international participation in something that doesn't involve war -- this is a good thing. Politics be damned.
I may not be athletic, but I can appreciate the training it takes to be an Olympian from ANY country in ANY event. And unlike national and world championships that come every year, that four year schedule is heartbreaking and breathtaking all at once.
So... Will I hear of taps not running right? Of outrages by security personnel? Of endless commercials and commercialism, even when voiced by the soothing tones of Morgan Freeman? Of complaints by Americans that their needs aren't somehow being met? That NBC will go on and on about some American's poor performance, while ignoring all the outstanding talent around and as well as the dismal but righteous participation by the lone member of a team from a country that never sees snow?
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.
I was aware there were Olympics in 1960, but by 1964 I was a confirmed Olympic junkie. And we went to Atlanta in 1996... the second week after the Centennial Park bombing. So I know somewhat of what I speak. If you EVER have the chance to go to the Olympics GO. Realize -- we HATE crowds and I'm saying this!
Sochi is Sochi. The 2014 Games won't be like any of the others, just like all the others. The records, the triumphs, the failures will all be stamped Sochi. The ice will be wrong, the tracks too fast or too slow. Judges will be wrong. Tears shed.
And there will be curling.
I'll be there.