Updated February. 08, 2014 04:37
The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics where more than 6,000 athletes from 88 countries worldwide will display world best of sport performance has kicked off early Saturday morning. As many as 71 Korean athletes, the largest ever delegation, are participating in the event, aiming to rank 10th overall for three consecutive Olympic events. Over the next 17 days, athletes from around the world will move the heart of people on the entire planet with their invincibly challenging spirit.
Korea has become a winter sports powerhouse as it ranked fifth overall with six gold medals, six silver, and two bronze at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Thanks to athletes` sweat and tears over the past four year preparing for this years event, the national team is expected to display stellar performance yet again. Figure skating champion Kim Yu-na and short-track gold medalist Lee Sang-hwa are expected to give the Koreans the very special gift of winning gold medals at two consecutive Olympics. The Korean people will continue to send cheers and applause in the hope that Korean players will display their skills without reservation through February 24, when the Olympic Flame will be put out.
Russia invested 51 billion U.S. dollars for the Sochi Olympics, making it the most expensive winter Olympics ever. Russian President Vladimir Putin who envisions revival of the Russian Empire proactively intervened from the initial stage when his country sought to bid for the event. However, critics say that nearly one third of the budget might have been stolen, as a flurry of cases of sloppy construction work has been revealed. As Russia has mobilized nearly 70,000-strong military and police forces to counter possible terror attacks by militias from countries near Sochi, the Olympics seems as if it is taking place within a military base.
Russia is urged to do its best to ensure that the Sochi Olympics will become an extravaganza for humanity. It must heed to complaints raised by athletes to the extent possible. Securing safety at an international competition is the most important responsibility of the host country. Russian authorities should deploy all measures at disposal to block infiltration by terrorists, while giving careful consideration to ensure that athletes and tourists will face no inconveniences.
Sochi is a mirror that will reflect the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in Korea. Korea must use the Russian event as an opportunity not only to improve its athletes performance but also to check up what we should do in various fields, including preparation and operation of the Korean event. For a successful Olympics in Pyeongchang, Korea will need star players on par with Kim Yu-na and Lee Sang-hwa again four years from now. Kim Yu-na is the reigning champion of figure skating, but Korea has so narrow base of figure skaters that the country can hardly afford to field its team to group figure skating competition for the top 10 teams in global rankings. Korea should closely examine the Sochi event, prepare a Pyeongchang event that can be commended by people worldwide four years later.