Beyond the security threats surrounding the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and the skyrocketing cost of the project, journalists covering the event are now arriving in the region to find their accommodations are rustic at best.
“Let’s talk about the Olympics. Who wants to win a trip to the Olympics? Not me… I wouldn’t go [even] if you gave me the trip… Apparently the whole world feels that way. They expected huge crowds, and nobody is showing so far,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “And the tweets that are coming out are remarkable.”
“Who thought that was ever a good idea,” Pat added.
You would think the Olympic Committee would be mortified that they awarded the games to a region of the world that is incredibly underdeveloped, a hotbed for terrorism, and essentially run by a dictator. But alas, they are not.
The disarray seems to contradict repeated promises from both Russian and Olympic officials that Sochi is ready for the games, despite terrorist threats, unfinished construction and concerns over human rights abuses in the country. The Sochi Olympics have also run way over budget — to a record $51 billion — which seems particularly remarkable when you consider that some of the work isn’t actually done. International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has of course denied that, insisting both that the “stage is ready” and that many concerns, including those over safety and construction, are overblown. Meanwhile, Dmitry Chernyshenko, president of Sochi’s Olympic organizing committee, had this Twitter exchange with a CNN producer who complained that only one of the network’s 11 requested rooms was ready for them:
@DChernyshenko Our media hotel is not ready Dmitry….11 rooms booked five months ago, only one ready. Please help.
— Harry Reekie (@HarryCNN) February 4, 2014
Many members of the media who have arrived in Sochi have taken to Twitter to shed light on the shockingly subpar conditions of the non-Olympic venues. TheBlaze complied the top five reasons you should be glad you aren’t in Sochi for the Olympics:
1. You can’t flush the toilet paper down the toilet
People have asked me what surprised me the most here in Sochi. It's this. Without question … it's … THIS. pic.twitter.com/1jj05FNdCP
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) February 4, 2014
2. The water might look like this
— Stacy St. Clair (@StacyStClair) February 4, 2014
3. When you try to find bottled water, you may only find giant bottles of gin
— Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) February 4, 2014
4. You might fall into a manhole
— Jo-Ann Barnas (@JoAnnBarnas) February 1, 2014
5. The hotels are subpar
— Kevin Bishop (@bishopk) February 4, 2014
“These tweets are certainly not going to help tourism,” Pat quipped.
“The latest from the Associated Press is there are no foreign visitors yet,” Glenn concluded. “They have asked the tourist kiosk, and she said in the last week, she has seen one guy. He was from Kenya, and he stopped by. Everybody else is from Russia. The trains are half empty. Nobody’s going to this thing. I mean this thing is going to be a massive embarrassment.”
Front page image courtesy of the AP