Citius, Altius, Fortius.
That's the official Olympic motto, and it means "Faster, Higher, Stronger"—which may apply to the graceful athletes vying for Olympic gold, but the global games often slow down local economies, lower human rights standards, and weaken the social fabric. Many past international events have been preceded by local tumult and troubles for host countries, such as Brazil in the run-up to next year's World Cup, and the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, are no exception.
The games don't open until February 2014, but they are already having a huge impact on the country, according to Human Rights Watch. A host of anti-gay policies recently enacted by President Vladimir Putin are just some of many concerns under the microscope as Russia prepares to take the world stage.
We're hoping the unofficial motto of the Olympics takes center stage at some point and Russian administrators realize it's true: "The most important thing is not to win but to take part." We here at TakePart happen to like that one and believe those who are taking part in creating the games shouldn't be made to suffer, whether through labor rights violations, the muzzling of journalists, or environmental abuses.