Willie Nelson Had It Right About Russia & the Olympic Rings

Bruce Bennett - Getty Images
Bruce Bennett – Getty Images

The Winter Olympic games in Sochi, Russia have been much maligned for being unprepared, behind schedule, and a potential security risk to athletes and patrons alike as the host country worked feverishly to finish important infrastructure before the beginning of the games. The hilarity of double-bowled toilet stalls, and the not-so-funny matter of stray dogs being killed in droves was capped during the Opening Ceremony Friday night when the five Olympic rings were relegated to four and a misappropriated snowflake showed up during an important segment of the presentation. Though the rest of the evening went off without a hitch, the missing link has come to symbolize Russia’s mishandling of their Olympic duties.

Interesting enough, an old photo of Willie Nelson on a golf course has surfaced, with the country legend wearing a T-shirt with a corresponding missing link, and the caption, “Let the Russians play with themselves,” leaving some wondering if along with all of Willie’s other esoteric powers, divination is a gift he possesses.

More than likely though, it is simply an artifact of its time. The photo was taken in 1984 during the height of the Cold War when the year’s Summer Olympics came to symbolize the global struggle between the two super powers of the United States and the USSR. In 1980, the United States led a boycott of the Summer Olympics held in Moscow, and in 1984, the USSR returned the favor by boycotting the Olympics in Los Angeles. Willie was just showing off his patriotic spirit in 1984 in a T-shirt commemorating the boycott, while enjoying one of his favorite pastimes.

Nonetheless, it’s a cool little piece of Outlaw country music history.


Originally the photo was taken by The Associated Press. It was published by the Willie Nelson blog Still Is Still Moving in April of 2013, and attributed to The Houston Chronicle.

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