Source Pravda.Ru

Adrian Ash: "We Do Need Russians at the Games"

To the Editor, You have just printed a letter from an angry Canadian saying that "We don't need people like you [Russians] in the Olympics." This furious person ended by saying that Russia should be banned from the Olympics forever. Your readers should be informed that this is not a universal opinion in Canada. I am a proud Canadian, thrilled at the Canadian gold medal hockey victory, who does not share this opinion at all. This furious letter hurt me just to read it. How anyone who claims to represent my country can blast Russia in this way is beyond my understanding. As a passionate hockey fan in Canada, I grew up playing casual street games in which we always re-enacted Canada-Russia games. One team's boys would claim Canada and yell out the names they claimed like "Guy Lafleur" and "Ken Dryden", while the other side knew they had taken on the names of "Valeri Harlamov" and "Vladislav Tretiak". The Russian heroes had just as much honour as our own Canadian ones. When we watched the real games, of course, we always wanted Canada to win, but we had the greatest respect for the powerful Russian opponents. This respect runs deep in many Canadians, who would hate to see the letter this person has sent to Pravda. We may want to defeat Russia in sport, but we still want to play you, and experience has taught us we can expect to lose as often as we win. If the competition is as worthy as Russia's, most Canadians don't mind often losing to that competition. What I cannot accept, though, is an Olympics without Russia. It would not be the Olympics. So says this proud Canadian.

Adrian Ash

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