Controversy plagues start of 2014 Winter Olympics
By Annie Moore
To say the Winter Olympics in Sochi have been a farce would be an understatement, and it’s only just begun.
In what proved to be the perfect symbolism for these Winter Games, the opening ceremony featured five giant illuminated snowflakes that descended and expanded to form the five Olympic rings. But the fifth and final snowflake didn’t expand, rendering the Olympic symbol half-formed… kind of like the planning for the Sochi games themselves. Oh, and the final Olympic torchbearers included a woman who tweeted a photoshopped picture of President Obama and a banana, and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rumored mistress, an ex-gymnast.
These Winter Games are the most expensive in Olympics history, with a breathtaking $51 billion price tag. That’s billion, with a “b”. And the return on investment has been… less than optimal.
Athletes, journalists, international delegates and fans alike have descended on Sochi in the past weeks to get ready for the Winter Games and have been greeted with accommodations that rival the worst hostiles in the world. Harry Reekie of CNN tweeted upon their arrival that of the 11 rooms they reserved five months ago, one was ready. To which Olympic organizer Dmitry Chernyshenko tweeted the response, “to believe you just need to turn around and look at the mountains.” Last time I checked, mountains can’t install proper plumbing and electricity. Of course, neither can the companies responsible for construction of the many new hotels and Olympic facilities in Sochi.
Social media has been flooded with “#SochiProblems” for the past week. Rooms without doors, functioning plumbing, safe water, shower curtains and many other necessities.
Stacy St. Clair of the Chicago Tribune tweeted that upon her arrival there was no working water in her room. The front desk clerk went on to tell her that if/when water was restored not to use it on her face because it contained “something very dangerous”. Later St. Clair followed up to say that her water had been restored, and tweeted a picture of something I can only imagine was green tea mixed with battery acid, or Sochi water.
But, even if most of those issues could be dismissed as first-world problems that locals deal with on a daily basis (running water is so overrated, right?), deeper, moral issues lie at the heart of these Olympics. They have been passed over by the IOC in what is perhaps the most unforgivable moral depravity in the charade of a sporting event in recent history.
Many journalists arrived to find stray dogs and cats in their rooms, or around the Olympic village. The journalists were later surprised to find that their new furry friends had gone missing. That would be because the Russian government has a contract with Basya Services, a pest control company, to trap and kill stray dogs and cats in the city. The original contract was reportedly for around 300 animals per month, but the number was raised to prepare for the Winter Games.
Residents have reported seeing the animals being shot with poison darts, or being fed poisoned meat. Many of the strays are pets that residents could no longer afford to keep, with no shelters to take them to, they were forced to simply turn them out. And now the animals are being exterminated because they are getting in the way of all of the atrociously-planned Olympic festivities.
The owner of Basya Services, Alexei Sorokin was quoted as saying the animals were “biological trash”.
The Sochi games are just getting underway, and with two more weeks of competition remaining we will see how history remembers these 2014 Winter Olympics. But one thing is for certain, something’s rotten in Sochi, and it’s not the animals or the sewage.
Photo Courtesy: Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images