Tomorrow begins the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia – where only a few years prior the city was considered a spa on the Black Sea. Now changed into an official host of the Olympic games, the city has been transformed into one of the largest sporting cities ever built with eleven new sporting venues between both coastal and mountain clusters.
Notified that they would be the host in July 2007, the Sochi Organizing Committee (SOC) began action to prepare for the games with an initial budget of 12 billion dollars. Now that number has ballooned to more than 50 billion dollars and will be the most expensive Olympic Games ever.
With sporting expenses only coming to $6.4 billion U.S. dollars, one should beg the question, where did the rest of that money go?
Most of the budget can be attributed to the production of other stadiums and the building of hotels found in a document titled Winter Olympics in the Subtropics by a former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov (Pictured on the left), who is longtime critic of Russian President, Vladimir Putin. Only about 50% of the money is documented, the rest of the money is untraceable.
In terms of the budget, Russia deserves the negative publicity for the handling of this situation. Vladimir Putin did not have the right people in place to prepare for the 2014 Winter Olympics as the corrupt embezzlements and kickbacks show. The only people to benefit are not the athletes or the city this global event is hosted by. According to Nemstov, “the Olympics have merely enriched oligarchs and companies close to Putin,” and he uncovers another problem that most of the stadiums built endanger the subtropical lands that Sochi used to be before the games.
On the other hand, they may not be rightly deserving of the negative press by the press, listed in this Washington Post article or any of the other seemingly media led sabotage.
Current Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak (Pictured below), while doing a tour of the media lab in Sochi seemed to blame the western media for the media led sabotage when he said “We have surveillance video from the hotels that shows people turn on the shower, direct the nozzle at the wall and then leave the room for the whole day” in front of various reporters.
He later retracted that statement (for obvious reasons), in a news conference and said that the imperfections in the Olympic facilities and tourist infrastructure were small.
There have been 103 reported cases of registered complaints from the 100,000 according to a spokesperson for Deputy Prime Minister (Who did not disclose what was considered a registered complaint)
It cannot be said with absolute certainty whether or not the country as a whole deserves the blame for the problems at facilities, but as for the two problems presented above, the 2014 Olympics in Sochi have absolutely had a dismal beginning and in the American media seem to be only getting started.