The Disaster of the Sochi Olympics

The opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are on Friday and this is shaping up to be pretty much an epic disaster. They spent $51 billion on these games (half of which probably went to bribes in one of the most corrupt nations on earth) and the hotels aren’t even finished yet. The Washington Post reports on journalists who are there to cover the games tweeting about the deplorable situation.

Amid continued debate over whether or not Sochi is prepared to host the 2014 Olympics, which begins Thursday, reporters from around the world are starting to check into local hotels — to their apparent grief. Some journalists arriving in Sochi are describing appalling conditions in the housing there, where only six of nine media hotels are ready for guests. Hotels are still under construction. Water, if it’s running, isn’t drinkable. One German photographer told the AP over the weekend that his hotel still had stray dogs and construction workers wandering in and out of rooms.

Here’s one series of tweets from one of the journalists:


And the follow up:


There are open manholes on the sidewalks, hotels with no lobbies yet. cement still being poured. There must have been a hell of a lot of money changing hands for Sochi to be awarded the Olympics in the first place. By any possible measure, it’s the last place you would pick for the games. And I have a feeling this is going to be one big clusterfuck. I just hope there’s no violence.

"She has always annoyed the crap out of me."

Wiles Makes a Testable Prediction: Trump ..."
"Half a century or so. But even at 5 years I was smarter than the ..."

Trump Was Shown Proof of Putin ..."
"Benghazi - 4 year investigation, Zero indictmentsHillary emails - 2 year investigation, Zero indictmentsTrump-Russia - ..."

Spicer Goes On a Redemption Tour
"Someone played a selection of his recent statements. He's displaying very poor ability to speak ..."

Spicer Goes On a Redemption Tour

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Sastra

    Whew. With toilet facilities presumably not being what they ought to be, that wasn’t what I thought that photo was going to be.

  • Oy! In old days never would happen—then we knew how make Потёмкинские деревни!!

  • Alverant

    I want to be happy that it’s such a disaster considering some of their policies, but I can’t considering all those people who have to be there getting such bad treatment. How will that shirtless guy spin this?

  • eric

    Both Stewart and Colbert had are having a field day with this. I expect it’ll provide them with material for quite a while. As one of them (I forget which) said – you’d think that with his anti-gay stance, Putin would have at least put covers on all the manholes.

  • “I just hope there’s no violence.”

    Sadly, I think it’s inevitable. There’s either going to be a terrorist attack or an anti-gay riot. It’s only a question of when.

  • Look what the homosexuals did to the hotels! Russia needs even stricter anti-gay laws to correct this mess!

  • @ Alverant

    At least some of the Russian officials are taking the its-all-Western-lies approach to this. The journalists are saying this to make the Russians look bad. One even claimed that they had surveillance footage showing journalists deliberately leaving the water running in their rooms. Apparently they can get spy cameras installed but not shower curtains.

  • doublereed
  • eric

    One even claimed that they had surveillance footage showing journalists deliberately leaving the water running in their rooms.

    Ahhh, because “you ran the tap so long the water became yellow and poisonous” is a perfectly reasonable defense.

  • Repent! This is God’s punishment for Putin not being mean enough to The Gays.

  • cptdoom

    Apparently the Opening Ceremonies had a major SNAFU, with one of the five snowflakes that were designed to open into the Olympic Rings failing to open, so they had 4 rings and a snowflake. About what you’d expect from Russian technology.

    The pics I’ve seen of the Opening Ceremonies also seem to show a lot of empty seats, but the lighting isn’t clear.

  • I wonder if anyone will have the stones to compare this clusterfuck to the last Olympiad held in Russia. Tell us again how capitalism is so much more efficient than communism?

  • @ Raging Bee

    I’m not exactly sure what the Russians have now, but I’m reasonably certain it’s neither capitalism nor communism. Kleptocracy?

  • sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    I’m not exactly sure what the Russians have now, but I’m reasonably certain it’s neither capitalism nor communism. Kleptocracy?

    Capitalism as imagined by communists perhaps, ArtK.

  • Nick Gotts


    It’s capitalism. That it’s extremely corrupt does not change the economic system, any more than it did when the latter was communism.

  • In Soviet Russia, Market Frees you!!!

  • Lofty

    Kapitalism, you mean.

  • timberwoof

    Between the USOC suing the Gay Olympics but not the Rat Olympics, restricting athletes’ free speech, and choosing one repressive regime after another to host the games, I recommend the Olympics for shunning, abandonment, excommunication, and discommendation.

  • The 2010 Commonwealth Games in India were considered a disaster at the time (infrastructure collapses, corruption, violence, racism, poor facilities, poor housing, etc.). Compared to initial reports of Sochi, they were well organized. The IOC will have to explain its decision not to move the games back to Turin or Vancouver when it had the chance.

    More and more of these overblown events are proving to be not worth the trouble. The Greek olympics were an environmental, financial and logistic disaster, Utah was a mess and the rampant bribery was exposed (all of them involve bribery, but that’s another story), China had uncountable problems (rampant racism and other human rights abuses, censorship and arrests, pollution and environmental damage, et al), Atlanta had terrorism and transportation disasters, Brazil’s world cup soccer stadiums are collapsing physically and financially, Montreal’s stadium was called the Big Owe for its debt (not paid off until the 1990s), etc. And those are just the ones I listed, there are others.

    I can only imagine what sort of problems the Rio olympics will have and will be. It’s only a matter of time before countries stop wasting so much money on hosting and participating.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Dunno how Al Q (actuals & wannabes) can resist exploiting the impending chaos, or at least probing for equivalent weaknesses in security. Even without that friendly help, the odds of the newly arrived army of police not mangling spectators &/or media &/or athletes are infinitesimal.

    Russian embassies around the world must be preparing to make excuses for disasters which have barely started yet.

    In the absence of genuine elections, a mega-blunder inspires coups. Putin now has to smile and lie while watching over both shoulders. Various generals and spymasters, deeply aware of Russian traditional values, have no choice but to sharpen their swords (& daggers, respectively), and confer discreetly.

    All the NSA’s Russophones are (or ought to be) working all-nighters, with some lights on at Langley too.

    Despite the prayers of his American admirers, Vladimir’s fall will be of Olympian dimensions. Kinda hard on the mortals, though.