No, they haven’t forgotten the 1980 Winter Olympics in Russia. Then again, it would be a miracle if they had.
The in-flight magazine of Russian airline Aeroflot offered a breakdown this month of past Winter Games, with blurbs on each and of course including the 1980 Lake Placid Games. The 2002 Salt Lake City Games also got a less-than-rave review, though that was mainly in regard to the figure skating scoring scandal and some prominent doping matters.
The harshest words, by far, were reserved for the 1980 games.
“The Lake Placid Olympics,” the paragraph begins, “was one of the most poorly organized.”
It goes on to talk about how venues weren’t completed in time and how the athletes’ village was built in what would eventually become a prison (which is true).
Then came a nod to the Cold War. “The Americans used the games to wage a propaganda campaign in support of a boycott of the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow,” the passage read. “Despite the harsh psychological setting, Soviet athletes performed notably.”
There was no mention of one of the most polarizing moments of any Olympics: USA 4, USSR 3 in men’s hockey, the “Miracle on Ice” game.
SOCHI SCENE: Waving the flag
When Todd Lodwick leads Team USA into the Olympic stadium on Friday night for the opening ceremony of the Sochi Games, the responsibility of the role of flagbearer won’t be the only thing weighing on him.
The Stars and Stripes can get pretty heavy during a celebration that will last for a few hours. For a 37-year-old Nordic combined skier not even a month removed from a major shoulder injury, Lodwick could be forgiven for thinking about passing the flag to someone else to do the heavy lifting.
“No way,” Lodwick says. “I’m going to carry that thing with pride.”
Lodwick is the first American to compete in six Winter Games. His career started as a 17-year-old in Lillehammer in 1994, and he isn’t taking this unprecedented longevity for granted. The father of two says his fondest memory as an Olympian was during the opening ceremony of his first one, when he ran over to the stands to take a picture with his mother.
He calls being the flagbearer this year a “huge honor” and a “nice bookend” to his career.
“I don’t think that it will really hit me until they put that flag in my hand,” he says. “It’s something I never thought would’ve happened.”
SOCHI SCENE: Boxing Kangaroo Returns
The Boxing Kangaroo, Australia’s unofficial but much-loved mascot, has hopped back into controversy at another Winter Games.
Four years after the International Olympic Committee stepped in to allow the Australian team to fly the gold-and-green Boxing Kangaroo flag at the athletes’ village in Vancouver, a security guard at the moguls venue at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park this week ordered Shane Morris, the father of Australian aerial skier Dave Morris, to stop flying the flag.
Shane Morris, who was there with his wife, Margaret, and Dave’s brother Peter to cheer on Australian athletes, refused the order. The guard eventually gave up trying to stop him.
“It’s definitely been a symbol of our team, and of course, it’s already had some controversy in the past,” Australian team leader Ian Chesterman said Friday at a news conference. “It’s flying in our village area now. I’m glad the Boxing Kangaroo is back in the news.”
Dave Morris said his family was unlikely to tone down their very visual display of Australiana, and was more likely to do more than just fly the flag the next time they’re at the venue.
“My brother has this green and gold suit. It’s disgraceful, but he’ll probably wear it tomorrow,” Dave Morris said. “Or he’ll probably come dressed as a kangaroo.”