Tuesday, September 02, 2014


'Will Sochi Games Be Great, Or The Greatest?'

Performers wave Russian flags near the Sochi 2014 countdown clock just outside the Kremlin in Moscow in February 2013, a year ahead of the Games.
Performers wave Russian flags near the Sochi 2014 countdown clock just outside the Kremlin in Moscow in February 2013, a year ahead of the Games.
Why are the Sochi Winter Olympics organizers and American comedian Stephen Colbert the greatest pollsters? 

Because they both know how to ask leading questions. 

During George W. Bush's presidency, Colbert was fond of asking guests, including Democratic congressmen, whether Bush was "a great president or the greatest president." 

WATCH: Stephen Colbert quizzes his guests on Bush.

An online poll on the official Sochi Olympics website appears to leave just as little wiggle room for respondents (H/T to Kirit Radia).

"Are you looking forward to the Olympic games?" it asks.

The options:

"Yes, I've been waiting since the victory in Guatemala! I can't believe there is so little time left!" (The International Olympic Committee chose Sochi as the site of the 2014 games in 2007 in Guatemala City.)

"I'm really looking forward to them! The Games are a great event, not only for our country, but for the whole world!"

"I'm looking forward to them, because I enjoy sport and follow every Olympics."

"I'm looking forward to them, because I hope for great results from our athletes!"


Despite the optimism of the Olympics pollster, the Sochi games have had their share of controversy: Preparations for the two-week sporting event are said to have cost some $51 billion --  10 times as much as any previous Winter Games; rights groups have complained of environmental and human rights abuses; terrorism fears prompted by two recent attacks in the southern Russian city of Volgograd have prompted an unprecedented security clampdown; and an antigay law passed in Russia last year has caused some activists to call for an Olympic boycott.

But perhaps Russian President Vladimir Putin himself has taken to the optimism of the organizers. He recently walked back a decree banning "gatherings, rallies, demonstrations, marches, and pickets" before or during the Olympic Games, promising to set up special "protest zones" in Sochi. 

-- Glenn Kates

Tags: Sochi Olympics

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Eugenio from: Vienna
January 09, 2014 15:24
:-)))))) A nice video!!! What did you, guys, decide to start a new production line in the news year :-))?? Do you have videos like that on Obama? After all, he is also great / greatest :-)).
In Response

by: Anonymous
January 10, 2014 01:36
This article is not about US Presidents, it's about surveys with leading questions, and Colbert's use of them for comedic effect.

by: Great from: Paris
January 10, 2014 05:55
Wow. Now THIS is quality journalism at its best. Way to go RFERL !!!

by: Anonymous
January 14, 2014 00:48
here on RFE are all crazy for discredit the Sochi Games

But..... where is the Olympic spirit of rferl?

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
January 19, 2014 22:07
Comparing with Munich Olympics, Hitler used
To invade neighbors and "anshluz" with Austria call,
As a pseudo-legitimacy to conquer, annex and abuse -
Russia is as evil as its "giant" and as dirty as a poet said:
"farewell dirty Russia, country of slaves, country of beast!"
Sochi was Georgia, invaded by Lenin's army of genocide,
Against Georgians. They annex and genocide by lists,
For beast - Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Georgia prime.
Hitler didn't make Olympics in Prague, but Munich.
Russia has Olympics not in Moscow, but Sochi!

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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