The internet went into a tailspin after a technical malfunction prevented Sochi’s fifth snowflake from blossoming into an Olympic ring. The glitch has prompted a lot of speculation, mockery, gossip, and even an internet hoax about a grizzly murder.
Amid all of this chatter, no one seems to be asking this question: Was Russia trying to send a message to America?
Please consider that prior to 1951, each Olympic ring corresponded with a particular continent: blue represented Europe, yellow represented Asia, black represented Africa, green represented Australia and red—the fifth circle—represented the Americas.
Keep that in mind as you think about how Russia and America aren’t exactly on the best of terms: accusations of espionage, clashes over Syria, the Edward Snowden affair, tension over Gay Rights, Russia’s anti-America adoption laws, and—like icing on the cake—President Obama’s refusal to attend the Sochi Opening Ceremony.
Indeed, the fact that the fifth circle didn’t open up and join the others looks less and less coincidental.
Don’t get me wrong. I fully believe that the fifth ring failure was mere a technical glitch and not some subliminal message. But I also believe that this accident can serve as a potent symbol of the current state of affairs between Russia and America.
Having lived in Russia for a time, I know that Russia is doing everything it can to reach out to an international community. Are they perfect? No. But are we to blame an entire country for the violence and corruption of a few? The majority of Russians are good, kind-hearted people, and they are doing their best.
In contrast, I am frequently disappointed by many Americans’ attitudes towards Russia. Maybe I’m just a little sensitive because I have so many Russian friends, but can the mockery, and vilification stop? Russians are not so different from us. They have hopes, dreams, and fears just as real as ours. Instead of keeping our circle of love closed, can we not open up and try to befriend the Russian people?
If you have a bias against Russia, I humbly ask you to consider this: What do you have to gain from constricting your heart? What do you have to gain from keeping them out?
During this Olympic season, Russia has opened its country—and its heart—to the to the world. Please open up and join with them.
***If my writing has ever inspired you, will you—as a special favor to me—please share this article with as many people as you can? The message of peace and friendship between America and Russia means more to me than I can adequately describe.