Vai's View: Olympic hosts should be applauded, not criticized
I work among a group of fellow NBC reporters from NBC-owned stations: New York, Chicago, L.A., Miami, San Francisco, etc. We're a tight-knit group from working multiple games together. We all love the experience and the places and people we meet. Our D.C. station, WRC, sent a young Russian media specialist named Alex Prudovsky, who immigrated to America at age 11 with his parents. He's fluent in Russian and so proud to be in his ancestral homeland. Alex became my running partner, so we've become good friends.
Alex told me his father sent him a YouTube clip of Whitney Houston's Super Bowl rendition of the national anthem with a reminder to enjoy Sochi but America is whom they're loyal to. Yet, he was blindsided and embarrassed by the incessant complaints over living conditions.
Earlier in the week, Alex sent our group this link #SochiProblems Is More of An Embarrassment For America Than It Is For Russia" with a plea to read. It's well-written. It perfectly addresses what I've clumsily attempted to do here.
I reassured Alex his country has been a wonderful host. Sure, there are problems. There always are. But I love Russians' national pride, how hard I see them working at whatever their task is; their culture, arts, cuisine, history and how breathtakingly beautiful their land is.
No way am I gonna be a spoiled teenage brat.
"The towels aren't fluffy." "My bed is so small."
Wah. Wah. Wah.
Shut up and tell me who medaled.
Praise for the missionary program
The other day I had lunch in the NBC commissary with NFL analyst Chris Collinsworth and his wife, Holly.
They have sons at Notre Dame, and we got talking about kids. They asked if my boys served missions and I proudly told them they served in Hawaii, Hong Kong and London.
With a serious look, Chris said to me, "You know, I wish Notre Dame would make missions a part of their curriculum. I think every 19-year-old kid should serve a mission for the sheer experience and what it does for them when they return. Your missionary program is a stroke of genius."
I was still nodding and smiling with a mouthful of food when Holly jumped in.
"Honey, I think you're preaching to the choir."
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