Because the International Olympic Committee made the mistake of awarding the 2014 Winter Olympics to a Jason Bourne movie subplot, an extraordinary amount effort and resources have been expended to keep athletes and fans at the Sochi Games safe. That means the place is teeming with burly Russian cops, a sight which wouldn't exactly put visitors in a happy, money spending mood and certainly wouldn't, if captured on camera, portray a friendly, inviting image of Russia to the rest of the world. Time for some nonthreatening ugly windsuit wizardry.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Russian authorities have attempted to "soften" the image of its omnipresent militarized police force in the Olympic zone by dressing them in purpley pinky uniforms more befitting a power walking Florida grandmother than a power-punching Putin goon. The uniforms don't make the security sound any less like a dystopian nightmare, though.
From the WSJ:
People who bought tickets to the games were required to submit their passport details and a photo, and they must scan their photo-adorned badges at checkpoints to get into the venues and the Olympic Park.
Along the roads, railways and even airport runways around Sochi stand police sentries, sometimes just a few hundred feet apart. The road and railroad leading from the Olympic Park on the Black Sea coast to the cluster of ski resorts where the outdoor events take place is lined with surveillance cameras. Military boats are visible off the coast.
In addition to wearing what looks like my kindergarten dream snowsuit, guards close to Olympic venues don't even carry visible guns.
All of these factoids are very comforting; if a sporting event spectator is going to have to get a body cavity search before watching some people flip around on skis, it just seems nicer if the guy giving the full body cavity search is dressed like Grimace instead of a henchman that dies in the first scene of the next Tom Cruise vehicle.
In light of Russia's purply softening of a scary group of dudes who probably know really fancy kicking techniques gave me some ideas for other ways that normally unpleasant, threatening people could rehab their images through a simple costume change.
Why not TSA screeners dressed like Disney Princesses? Or IRS auditors dressed as characters from Adventure Time? Maybe The Sopranos would have been less tense a thrill ride if mob enforcers dressed like Santa, but it might rehab the mob's image. Also worth trying: Seal Team 6 dressed like the Norwegian curling team. Subway drug and bomb sniffing dogs dressed in attitude tees. Anti-semitesdressed like Sesame Street muppets.
Image via AP