Pages: From Russia, with Putin’s love

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Saturday, February 8, 2014

CVIRAA: It stands for the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association meet. This is the annual Region 7-wide competition among elementary and high school girls and boys. Although the Opening Ceremony will be at 3 p.m. today, several games began yesterday. And it’s been 14 long years since Cebu City last hosted the regional meet.

The Cviraa is actually the third step before the main event. First, there was the District Meet. Here, the various schools get clustered into groups.

After, it’s the city meet (for the city LGUs). Then, the regional meet (Cviraa). The winners of this coming week will represent Region VII for the Palarong Pambansa – one of our country’s biggest sporting events with 10,000 participants.


The 2014 Palaro, now on its 57th edition, will be held for the first time in Sta. Cruz, Laguna from May 4 to 10.

But, for now, it’s the Cviraa. We welcome our neighbors from Siquijor, Dumaguete, Bohol and from the entire Cebu province to the Queen City of the South.

SM2SM RUN. Like the mall giant does every Valentine’s, it’s the much-awaited SM2SM Run on Feb. 16. Why SM to SM? Because runners start the race at the SM City Cebu then traverse the SRP road towards the latest Henry Sy-owned mall that will open end of next year: the SM Seaside City.

What makes this race unique – apart from the 3K, 6K, 12K and 21K distances and with over P250,000 in prizes – is the date:
Valentine’s. The SM2SM Run, on its 4th staging this 2014, will be held two days after Feb. 14. And like they do each time, there’s the Couples Categories for the 12K and 21K. The husband-and-wife (or boyfriend/girlfriend?) tandem have to cross the finish line together. Holding hands and drained with sweat, what better way to cross that finish line next Sunday.

To all participants, the Race Kit distribution will start this Wednesday at The Event Centre of the SM City Cebu. See you next Sunday for the race.

RUSSIA. Let the Games begin! Past 12 midnight (Phil. time) yesterday, the Sochi Olympics started. I tried to stay awake late the other night but couldn’t find the TV5 coverage. CNN showed snippets leading to the Opening but no HD channel was made available by SkyCable.

Based on what I read, it was spectacular. Armed with over $50 billion worth of expenses, it better be a grand spectacle. Some notes that I picked up from the Opening.

Maria Sharapova, who grew up in Sochi, was one of the top athletes (she’s an Olympic silver medalist) who carried the torch before the cauldron was lighted.

Another top Russian athlete who also carried the torch in the final moments was Alina Kabayeva. She may not be that familiar but she’s a top gymnast – though that’s not the “tsismis” story. This one is: she’s the girlfriend of Vladimir Putin. Only 30, she’s pretty and bright and is a Russian politician.

Although Kremlin denies it, almost everyone in Russia knows that the now-divorced Putin and her are a couple. Did she get the torch bearer part because of her “insider” relationship with the Russian president? Ha-ha. That’s the tabloid story. But she is, in fact, an Olympic gold medalist in rhythmic gymnastics.

What went wrong in the Opening? It appears that only one moment wasn’t right. It was the unveiling of the five Olympic rings; they started as snowflakes and emerged to become rings... the problem was: only four of the five rings opened! The nearly 40,000 in attendance inside Sochi stadium witnessed it.

But, not to worry, the Russians came prepared. For the TV viewers, they quickly deleted that malfunction portion, inserted the “correct” recording where all five Olympic rings were shown (taken from the rehearsal), so that TV viewers saw the “perfect” version. It’s somewhat similar to the Beijing Olympics when they included pre-recorded footages in the supposed “live” version.

But the Russian manipulation is worse. Still, many call it a necessary act. They say: For the billion-people worldwide TV audience, you can’t show the Olympics with four rings.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 09, 2014.


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