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An Olympic Shame: Vladimir Putin Plays Host To Winter Games

Posted: February 4, 2014

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Vladimir Putin's Olympics remind commentator Frank Deford of prescription medicine ads — the kind with the short list of benefits and long disclaimer.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with Olympic volunteers in Sochi, Russia, in January.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with Olympic volunteers in Sochi, Russia, in January. Alexei Nikolsky

You know those commercials for prescription medicines on television when they devote the first 15 seconds to the benefits of the drug and then take the next 45 telling you all the bad things that could happen if you use it? Vladimir Putin's Olympics remind me of that. For all the happiness his Winter Games are supposed to bring us, you need considerably more time to hear about all the things that could go wrong.

Let's not forget that Putin was given these games by the perennially inept International Olympic Committee. How is it possible that the IOC could have done so little due diligence as to award the games to a Soviet throwback bent on putting on a show in an out-of-the-way place where poverty and payoffs thrive, where terrorism and tragedy loom, where the environment is endangered, dissent is disallowed and prejudice is certified by law? Does anybody in the IOC ever have to answer for its mistakes?

Click on the audio link above to hear Deford's take on this issue.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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