—Decker Flamm, Staff Writer—
The world has changed immensely over the last century. The United States has had 18 presidents. Trains are no longer a main form of transportation due to the emergence of automobiles which are now owned by just about every household in America. The radio has been replaced by television. We have taken part in 7 different wars, only two of them actually being declared by congress. And the USSR collapsed and developed into the Russia we know today. However, what hasn’t changed is the never-ending rivalry between the USSR/Russia and the United States of America. For decades, the Soviet Union dominated the rivalry until the biggest moment of the rivalry for the United States came when they upset of the USSR national hockey team with a team full of only non-professional athletes. It was a defining moment of the Cold War between the two nations and an occasion us Americans will never forget for years to come. The Winter Olympics is an event the whole world looks forward to for a chance to see the world´s best compete on the largest stage in winter sports.
However, this year, the rivalry between the United States of America and Russia that has lasted for nearly a century has been put to an abrupt halt. In the 2018 Winter Olympics taking place in PyeongChang, South Korea, Russian athletes are not allowed to compete for their country and Russian officials cannot attend the events due to the government backing a doping program for their athletes. Many are wondering what this means for the rivalry between the United States and Russia.
In the 2018 Winter Olympics, Russian athletes who were not barred from competition due to doping are allowed to compete without any affiliation to Russia. Those who are able to prove they were not doping could petition to participate in neutral uniforms. Those deemed eligible to compete will be referred to as ¨olympic athletes from Russia.¨ These change in events predating the 2018 Winter Olympics taking place in South Korea
have changed the dynamics of these Olympics. Russia, a world leader and home to a plethora of incredible talent involving winter sports not being able to compete will create a bizarre feeling and maybe even nostalgia for the American athletes. Competitors and especially competitors at the elite level of an olympic athlete use competition to drive themselves in order to improve. Part of the dynamic of being a winter olympic athlete is the clash of world super powers between the United States of America and Russia. Barring Russia from these upcoming olympic games have completely changed the feeling of a rivalry in the Olympics, at least for this year. Nobody thought about these olympics a year ago and thought ¨You know what? I can’t wait for the next USA v. Olympic Athletes from Russia hockey game!¨ It just doesn’t sound right. From February 9 – February 25, 2018, the world will be a witness to the greatest winter athletes in the world competing in South Korea. But this time, there will be no miracle on ice. Russia´s mistakes have caught up with them. But who knows? Maybe Russia´s disqualification opens the door for a new rivalry to sprout between the U.S and another world power in winter sports.