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Opinion | From corruption to unfinished hotels, no sign of $50 billion spent in Sochi Olympics

Nicole's Two Cents

Editorial Editor

Published: Friday, February 7, 2014

Updated: Friday, February 7, 2014 00:02

The most expensive Olympics in history has already kicked off, with USA Olympians taking the slopes, including famed snowboarder Shaun White and skier Hannah Kearney. While the entire world’s eyes are focused on the talented Olympians, my eyes can’t help but follow the insane amount of money being spent, obvious (and expected) corruption and serious hotel blunders committed by the Russian Olympic Committee. Here is a compiled list of things you might miss while watching the games, because you are simply aren’t there to really experience the chaos.

Just a couple billion dollars and some corruption

Spending for Sochi is estimated at almost $50 billion. Don’t let president Vladimir Putin fool you. “The overall cost of the Olympics has been announced; it is $6.5 billion,” he said in a televised statement back last April. Well, let me get my calculator out; I think he is $43.5 billion off if I am correct. Not only has this been one of the most expensive Olympics, Putin and his Olympic Committee of political friends have been accused of embezzlement of Olympic funds. He also awarded multi-billion dollar Olympic construction bids to previous “friends” who then forgot to complete some of the construction but walked away with millions of dollars… I guess there is always next time, right?

Besides the possibly-diseased stray dogs and yellow water, the hotels are great

Three of the nine hotels in the mountain complex aren’t completely built, even though Sochi will be housing 100,000 people.

Bruce Arthur, a national sports columnist, reports that light bulbs, chairs, hot water, TV, WiFi and even shower curtains seem to be missing from hotels rooms occupied by the media.

Stacy St. Claire from The Chicago Tribune was told that if her water was restored, “do not use on your face because it contains something dangerous.”

German photographer Joerg Reuter had encountered windowless rooms, construction workers still sleeping in the rooms they were working on and the occasional stray dog exiting the room next to him.

Mark MacKinnon, an international correspondent for The Globe, tweeted “Ok, so my hotel doesn’t have a lobby yet.”

The United States aren’t the only people who monitor your privacy

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak couldn’t handle the complaints from the media, and said they only received “108 registered complaints.”

“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,” Kozak said, blaming the journalists for the mess. Wait hold on-- there are cameras in the showers? Kozak’s aide later retracted the statement and said “he was referring to something else,” but, how many of us actually believe that?

Westerners may being snobby, and even I can understand what they are going through as I lived in a post-war hotel in Kosovo for three months with questionable water, poor internet and pigeons living next door, but if Russia spent an estimated $50 billion on the Olympics, the proof certainly isn’t in the living conditions for those visiting.

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