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更新时间:2014-2-7 11:40:46 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

Unsettled Mood for an Uneasy Winter Games

They are the Uneasy Games. The 2014 Winter Olympics begin Friday in Sochi, Russia, not exactly a winter wonderland but a coastal resort, miles from the mountains, fronting the Black Sea. It is an incongruous place for an ambitious endeavor-more than two weeks of global winter sports competition, one of the biggest athletic stages on the planet, based in a city that is home to more than a few palm trees.

And that's just the start of it.

Is Russia ready? Russia says it will be ready. But there are voluminous doubts. As the opening ceremonies approach, there are reports of venues and hotels still incomplete, of nails being hammered as athletes and guests descend. Reported costs are extraordinary even by already extraordinary Olympic standards. The prior Winter Games in Vancouver cost roughly $7 billion. Sochi's estimates have ballooned to around $50 billion-more than four times early estimates-securing this already as the most expensive Olympics ever, summer or winter. Stories of corruption, worker abuse and runaway pricing are rampant.

The wild expenditures offered no assurance of architectural common sense. If the prelude to Sochi has a signature image, it is the oft-Tweeted photograph of twin men's room toilets, unseparated by a wall or any privacy divide. Toilettes à deux.

But this was a relatively minor boondoggle. The Journal's Moscow correspondent, Paul Sonne, offered an extraordinary and at times comical account of an Olympic media village and ski jump said to cost $2.3 billion.
Must be some ski jump.

Costs are only one part of the discomfort. The buildup to the Games has shined a useful light on a backward law in Russia that prohibits 'propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations' around minors, and has been internationally condemned as discriminatory toward gay people. Amid rumblings of boycotts, Russia offered assurances that gay visitors are welcome to the Games, the International Olympic Committee did the same, and the U.S. is sending an Olympic delegation that includes several high-profile gay athletes.

But there's evidence that not everyone's gotten the message. Not long ago, the mayor of Sochi, Anatoly Pakhomov, gave an interview in which he proclaimed that Sochi did not have any gay residents. 'We don't have them in our town,' he said. (Mr. Pakhomov's most recent mayoral opponent, Alexei Navalny, told the Associated Press that this would be breaking news to Sochi's gay bars.)

And then there's the matter of security. Security is always a priority in the modern Olympics-or any high-profile sporting event-but it is acute in Sochi, where there have already been threats of terrorist attacks and a pair of bombings in the city of Volgograd, about 400 miles away. The Russians have pledged a historic show of military protection, with more than 40,000 troops-a 'Ring of Steel,' which sounds Schwarzeneggerian in its confidence-but worry continues to permeate the pre-Games planning. No pledge can assure 100% safety; earlier in the week the Boston Globe's David Filipov took a tour of the area and found the security situation, well, casual. There have been reports of athletes urging friends and family to stay away, believing even a small risk isn't worth it.

These issues have freighted these Games with a heavy concern. As the Journal's Sharon Terlep and Matthew Futterman wrote last week, this is ordinarily a moment in which all pre-Games panic cedes to a genuine enthusiasm about the athletic events and athletes themselves. Instead there is is a broad anxiety. 'Sports seems to be the last thing on anyone's mind,' they wrote.

And yet there will be sports. There's an abundance of new disciplines in Sochi, among them snowboard slopestyle, women's ski jumping, team figure skating and biathlon mixed relay. There is a push to make the Winter Olympics feel fresher and younger, to borrow some of the demographic magic possessed by events like the X Games. There will be hockey, and, as in Canada four years ago, a host nation set upon a gold-medal run. There will be alpine skiing and speed skating, luge and bobsled. There will be curling and naturally, those fantastic curling pants. These Games should resemble the Olympics you know.

In the end there is an undeniable quality to the Games-how, despite all the headaches and ugly politics and absurd costs, there are brilliant performances that become indelible moments. Sochi will make names, give birth to athletic icons.

The most recognizable member of the U.S. team is already a legend at 27: Shaun White, the snowboard virtuoso, his Flying Tomato locks now shorn into a neat Don Draper trim. Like White, the U.S. speed skater Shani Davis will be trying to become the first American man to win gold in the same event in three consecutive Winter Games-Davis is trying to do it in the men's 1,000 meters. With Lindsey Vonn out with a knee injury, 18-year-old World Cup whiz Mikaela Shriffin will be elevated to prime-time status. Deserved attention will be paid to international stars like South Korean figure skater Yuna Kim, Australian snowboarder Torah Bright, Russian hockey superstar Alexander Ovechkin and the Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, the latter poised to potentially make a run at 12 medals, the all-time Winter Games record.

When the Games begin there is hope that Sochi will settle into a natural groove, the daily cycle of achievement and glory that gives the Olympics an irresistible rhythm. That should be the modest goal. A couple months ago, the Journal's Sonne quoted the manager of Sochi's Olympic ice hockey rink as saying: 'We're ready to show Russia's soul to all the world.' That is a big promise. Is the soul ready? The start is hours away, and the mood is unsettled for these Uneasy Games.

这是个令人不安的赛事。2014年冬季奥运会将于周五在俄罗斯索契开幕。索契虽未必是过冬 地,但却是一个海滨旅游胜地,距山脉数英里,面朝黑海。冬奥会将持续两周多,这是全球最大的运动赛事之一。然而,一个随处可见棕榈树的城市与这样一个宏大的赛事显得有些格格不入。



高昂的成本并不能确保建筑常识得到体现。如果说冬奥会开幕前的索契已经有了一个标志性的形象,那就是社交网站上经常转发的一张男厕所一个厕格内设有两个马桶的照片。图片上,这两个马桶之间没有 壁,也没有任何保护隐私的隔离,可谓“一格双位”。

但这相对来说还是小节。关于据称耗资23亿美元修建的奥运媒体村和跳台滑雪赛场,《华尔街日报》(The Wall Street Journal)驻莫斯科的记者索恩(Paul Sonne)还做过一次特别而且有点好笑的报道。

事实上,成本只是令人不安的部分因素。俄罗斯禁止向未成年人“宣传非传统性关系”,这种法律受到了国际社会的谴责,被认为是对同性恋者的歧视。而此次冬奥会的筹备工作使俄罗斯这种落后的法律被暴露出来。面对种种抵制,俄罗斯信誓旦旦地表示欢迎同性恋者到访索契冬奥会,国际奥委会(International Olympic Committee)也作出了同样的表态,而美国则派出了一个包括多位知名同性恋运动员的奥运代表团。

但有证据显示,并不是所有人都抱有这种态度。不久前,索契市长帕霍莫夫(Anatoly Pakhomov)在接受采访时宣称,索契的居民中没有同性恋者。他说,我们的城市没有同性恋者。帕霍莫夫最新的市长竞选对手纳瓦尔尼(Alexei Navalny)对美联社(Associated Press)称,对索契的同性恋酒吧来说,帕霍莫夫的上述言论会是条重大新闻。

此外,还有安保问题。对现代奥运会以及任何重大体育赛事来说,安保一向是首要问题。但在索契,安保是个严峻的问题。距索契约640公里的城市伏尔加格勒已经收到了恐怖袭击威胁,而且还发生了两次炸弹袭击。俄罗斯已承诺要提供一个刊载史册的军事保护,届时将出动4万多人的军队形成“钢铁圈”,听起来信心满满。但外界仍对赛前准备工作充满担忧。没有什么承诺能保证百分之百的安全。本周早些时候Boston Globe的菲利波夫(David Filipov)走访了该地区,发现安保工作有些“漫不经心”。有报道称,有的运动员劝朋友和家人不要随同前往,认为哪怕只有小风险,也很不值得。

所有这些问题给索契冬奥会带来了巨大的隐忧。就像《华尔街日报》记者特勒普(Sharon Terlep)和富特曼(Matthew Futterman)上周所写的,通常在奥运会开幕前的这段时间,奥运会前的所有恐慌都要让位于人们对体育运动和运动员的真诚热爱。但现在却是普遍的焦虑。他们写道,体育在所有人心里似乎是最后需要考虑的问题。



美国代表团中最知名的成员是单板滑雪运动员怀特(Shaun White),他27岁就成为了传奇。绰号为“飞翔番茄”的怀特已将自己满头卷发剪成了整齐短发。与怀特一样,美国的速滑运动员戴维斯(Shani Davis)将试图成为首位连续三届冬奥会在同一项目上获得金牌的美国运动员。戴维斯的项目是男子1千米速滑。

在沃恩(Lindsey Vonn)因膝盖受伤而不能参赛的情况下,曾在世界杯比赛上表现出色的18岁高山滑雪天才谢弗琳(Mikaela Shriffin)将备受瞩目。另一些国际明星也将同样受到关注,比如韩国花样滑冰运动员金妍儿(Yuna Kim)、澳大利亚单板滑雪运动员布赖特(Torah Bright)、俄罗斯冰球超级明星奥韦奇金(Alexander Ovechkin)和挪威冬季两项选手比昂达论(Ole Einar Bjoerndalen)。比昂达论可能会冲击个人职业生涯的第12枚奖牌,而12枚奖牌也是冬奥会历史上的个人奖牌最高纪录。