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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

  • "An Olympic Snowden": U.S. Athlete on Being Turned Into a "Spokesperson for Verizon" at 2006 Games

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    With the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, just two days away, we look at a side of the games that you won’t see in the wall-to-wall media coverage. Former Olympic athlete Samantha Retrosi joins us to discuss her recent Nation article, "Why the Olympics are a Lot Like 'The Hunger Games.'" A luge competitor in the 2006 Winter Games in Italy, Retrosi says a lack of government support and sufficient safety protections forces athletes into relying on corporate sponsors and putting themselves in harm’s way. "This is like an 'Olympic Snowden,'" says political sportswriter Dave Zirin, who also joins us in studio. "This is a legitimate whistleblowing moment. People who are part of the Olympic program don’t say what Samantha just said."

  • "Celebration Capitalism & the Olympics": Global Protests Mark Approach of Sochi Games

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin has spent more than $50 billion on the Winter Games in Sochi, making this the most expensive Olympics in history. In the lead-up to the games, Russia has faced worldwide criticism and calls for boycotts, especially after it passed a law in June banning the spread of so-called "gay propaganda" to children. With the games just two days away, we host a roundtable with four guests: Dave Zirin, sports columnist for The Nation magazine and author of "Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down"; Samantha Retrosi, a luge athlete who competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics; historian and former U.S. Olympic soccer player, Jules Boykoff, who is author of "Celebration Capitalism and the Olympic Games"; and Helen Lenskyj, author of several books on the Olympics, including "Gender Politics and the Olympic Industry" and the forthcoming book, "Sexual Diversity and the Sochi 2014 Olympics: No More Rainbows."