Americans of certain backgrounds find it unremarkable when others make a public display of their faith. People often give thanks to God in speeches, pray publically, and wear religiously significant items. As the United States of America become more secular, such public displays of piety decrease, but these actions startle only the most heathenish folks in our land (e.g. upper class A.C.L.U. members from the East Coast). In the former Soviet Union, the opposite trend has occurred over the last few decades. Thirty years ago, one would only see old women cross themselves in public. Today, Russian gold medalists have reclaimed the ancient practice. I have noticed this and the prevalence of baptismal crosses on Orthodox athletes while watching the games in Sochi. Apparently, someone at Reuters has been paying attention, too: “Sign of the times as Russian Olympic athlete shows her Orthodox faith.” I saw Elena Nikitina cross herself, and it was a consolation to know that she was a sister in the faith when she beat Noelle Pikus-Pace in women’s skeleton, whom I had been cheering. Pikus-Place is a poster child for everything that Mormons do right and just about the most ideal life-balanced athlete that one could find. Cheers for them both!
In other Sochi news, the Cossacks are on the job: “Cossacks to Go On Patrol at Sochi Games.” How wonderful! Russia is just a coronation away from finally convincing me to immigrate.