By Chris Wawra
The 2014 Winter Olympics have been rife with controversy ever since Sochi was confirmed as the host site. The Sochi terrorist bombing in 2008 was merely a precursor to what can only be described as a disaster of Olympic proportions. Terror threats, delayed construction, and Russia’s anti-gay law have severely diminished the enthusiasm for the always popular Olympics.
With only a few days before the 2014 Opening Ceremony, journalists have started to trickle in to the host town to a find things shockingly unprepared. Only 6 of the 9 hotels are currently fully operational, the streets are still being paved, and they are actually painting the grass green!
Sochi’s Olympics are also the most expensive Olympics to date with a price tag of over $50 billion dollars, which begs the question: Where did all that money go? They certainly didn’t go towards sanitation—running water is in short supply and one hotel advised their guests not to use the water on their face due to the presence of dangerous chemicals.
A lack of flushable toilets exacerbates the issue and highlights additional health and sanitation issues. Some hotels even have signs with proper toilet etiquette (pro tip: don’t fish in the toilet) And don’t forget about the dogs. Sochi has been dealing with an epidemic of stray dogs and Russian officials have hired contractors to alleviate the problem—by shooting and poisoning the loose mutts.
Travelers who are attending Sochi should also be worried about the continued unrest in Syria and the Ukraine, both nearby, and both with strong ties to Russia. The US Department of State put out an official notice cautioning potential travelers against travelling to the event, and Obama won’t be making a Presidential appearance at the Olympics for the first time in more than a decade.
Threats against the athletes are another factor overshadowing the games. The State Department has advised US athletes not to wear their Olympic uniforms in public to prevent the athletes from becoming potential targets of violence. Event the events are unsafe at Sochi. Superstar snowboarder Shaun White has withdrawn himself from the slopestyle event after trial runs rattled the nerves of the professional adrenaline-junky.
All in all it’s looking like Sochi could be the worst Olympics ever, but let’s sum up what we have so far to make sure:
- 3rd world living conditions
- Terrorist threats
- Lack of running water
- Lack of toilets
- Human rights issues
- Animal rights issues
- Unpaved roads
- Nearby warzones
- Unsafe events
What do you think about the Sochi Games?