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February 05, 2014

Is Sochi Ready?

The Winter Olympics begin on Friday. Athletes and journalists are starting to arrive in the coastal city of Sochi. The Russian government has spent seven years and $51 billion dollars preparing to welcome the biggest athletic competition in the world.

Well, mostly preparing.

Sochi? Well, three of the nine mountain hotels have not been completed, and the IOC estimate that 97 per cent of the rooms are ready appears to ignore the little things.

Almost every room is missing something: lightbulbs, TVs, lamps, chairs, curtains, wifi, heat, hot water. Shower curtains are a valuable piece of the future black market here. (One American photographer was simply told, “You will not get a shower curtain.”)

Be sure to scroll down for the worst hotel bedding tale you're likely to read this week.

Some of the pictures and stories coming out of Sochi are shocking or deeply weird, but Olympic corruption is nothing new. Russia just decided if there's going to be corruption, they might as well dream big.

The good czar's $50 billion gift to the world — by far the most expensive Winter Olympics in history (Vancouver's cost about $7 billion all in) — has raised a number of eyebrows.

An International Olympic Committee official, Gian Franco Kasper, has said that as much as one-third of the $50 billion has been siphoned off by corruption.

The CBC engages in a bit of wishful thinking and suggests that an unsuccessful games will hurt Putin's government. (Spoiler alert: Nope). Putin has always been more popular with Russians than with those in other countries, and if the games go forward without a major catastrophe (and if Russian athletes do well), he'll come out of this without much political damage in his own country.

That said, stories like this and this are unlikely to improve Putin and Russia's international image.

Well, until the next viral dash cam video.

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posted by Slublog at 03:17 PM

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