NBC’s Olympic coverage has largely avoided touchy political subjects about the host country, but on Friday night in the first hour of primetime coverage, Bob Costas took a minute to call out Vladimir Putin and the harsh realities of life in Russia for many people, and even brought up the ongoing chaos in Kiev. Costas noted how the Sochi Games have gone much better than people predicted, security has been sufficient, and people say they’ve been greeted with warmth and hospitality.
Which is all well and good, but Costas pointed out that this should not mask the “larger and more lasting truth” about Russian policy and its citizens.
“While in many significant ways, Russians have better lives than Soviet citizens of a generation ago, there’s is still a government which imprisons dissidents, is hostile to gay rights, sponsors and supports a vicious regime in Syria, and that’s just a partial list.”
He added that these Olympics are essentially “Vladimir Putin’s games,” and if they’re successful it will help bolster his image. Costas concluded, “No amount of Olympic glory can mask those realities, any more than a biathlon gold medal, hard-earned and deeply satisfying as it is, can put out the fires in Kiev.”
Watch the video below, via NBC:
[photo via screengrab]
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