Moscow_Subway_Olympics2Over the past few months, Russia has seen its fair share of global controversy.  At the end of June, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law that prohibited “nontraditional sexual relationships to minors.”

[1]  Then, on November 8th, it was originally rumored that Russia had banned journalists from using non-professional devices (cell phones and tablets) to take images and videos.[2]  This would have put a huge damper on using non-traditional forms of media (i.e. social media) to report Olympic news.  That announcement was allegedly made by Vasily Konov, the head of the state-run R-Sport news agency.  The day-long media scare proved to be factually misleading as it was quickly rebutted by an IOC spokesman, but still shed an ill-light on the Sochi Games.

However, on a more positive note, the Moscow Subway system has begun a cross-promotion campaign with the Winter Olympic Games in effort to get locals excited and in a sporting mood.  The idea is simple: complete thirty squats and receive a free ride on the subway.[3]  Officials have installed Olympic- and VISA-branded machines that include a camera, video screen, and sensor to determine whether someone has completed the requisite number of squats.  “We wanted to show that the Olympic Games is not just an international competition that people watch on TV, but that it is also about getting everyone involved in a sporting lifestyle,” said Alexander Zhukov, president of the Russian Olympic Committee.

Moscow_Subway_OlympicsA group called Olympic Changes is responsible for the implementation of this idea.[4]  They are also currently running a contest that allows contestants to submit an idea that will “add life to the Olympic values.”  In order to get into the qualifying round, an idea must garner 100 “likes.”  As of Nov. 20, 2013, an idea loosely translated as “Do the Olympian” was leading with over 200 likes.  The idea is to place videos of former Russian Olympians completing various exercises at museums around the country and have each group of visitors complete the exercises shown in exchange for free or reduced museum passes.  The winner will be decided by a “jury” including the ROC President and former Russian Olympians.  The deadline for garnering 100 likes is Dec. 17, 2013.  The winner will receive a round-trip flight from Moscow to Sochi, a ticket to the opening ceremony, hotel accommodations, and a tour of Olympic Park.

Sources:

[1] Lally, Kelly.  “Russia anti-gay law casts a shadow over Sochi’s 2014 Olympics.” http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-09-29/world/42510859_1_sochi-russia-anti-gay-law-olympic-boycott.

[2] Sharma, Vanilla. “Russia Bans Social Media Tools During Sochi Winter Olympics 2014.” http://www.ibtimes.co.in/articles/522119/20131114/russia-olympics-2014-sochi-ban-social-media.htm.

[3] Faull, Jennifer.  “Moscow promotes Sochi Winter Olympics with ‘squats for train tickets’ campaign.”  http://www.thedrum.com/stuff/2013/11/13/moscow-promotes-sochi-winter-olympics-allowing-passengers-do-exercises-train.