Friday, 7 February 2014

Is Sochi a success so far?

The Winter Olympics have taken place every 4 years since 1924 (excluding 1940 and 1944 because of World War 2) and they host a variety of winter sports from freestyle skiing to short track speed skating.

This year the Winter Olympics are being held at Sochi which is a coastal town in southern Russia. An estimated £31.1 billion has been spent ensuring the games happen which makes it the most expensive Olympic games yet!

Journalists from around the world, eager to witness and report on the events, arrived in the city last week and since then, things have not been looking good for the games. Journalist have tweeting the truth about hotels and questioning if the building work has even finished. Reports show a variety of issues from a broken curtain rail, double booked rooms and no hot water to hotel receptions lacking a floor, yellow tap water and manholes not having covers.

It is fair to say that things aren't going smoothly in Sochi.

That is nothing though, compared to what the Russian deputy prime minister revealed accidentally in a press conference. He said: "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," The Wall Street journal reports that an official aide then diverted the conversation and prevented follow-up questions concerning that matter.

Later that day, an official spokesperson said that the deputy prime minister was confused and the cameras were only in place for the construction of the hotels; they have been taken away since then. However, even if you believe that story, it seems peculiar that they were there in the first place.

Tragically, a few weeks before the Olympic opening ceremony a pest control company in Sochi informed journalists about a special contract they had recently received from the Russian government telling them to exterminate more stray dogs throughout the Olympics. A spokesperson for the pest control company said that thousands of stray dogs are roaming the streets and "biting children".

British government officials recently speculated on the security at the Sochi Winter Olympic games claiming that a terror attack is "very lightly to occur". This is probably the reason why Barack Obama, plus many more world leaders, have declined their invitations to the games despite Russia saying there is a "ring of steel" around the Olympic venues. 37,000 security officers have been deployed to ensure a terror attack will be very hard to pull off. Whether it is possible is the only question now.

From Russia with love

During January, Vladimir Putin (president of Russia) said that gay people were to stay away from Children. Interpret that as you wish however to me is says clearly that Russia is not planning to change its LGBT laws any time soon. Despite what Putin may claim, Russia is illiberal.

During Summer 2013 the Russian government passed an act banning 'Gay Propaganda' from children. Basically, this meant that children are not allowed to know that gay people exist which, conveniently for homophobes, stops any LGBT events happening anywhere in Russia.

Google has taken a stand though, making their 'Google Doodle' of Friday 7th February a rainbow of colours with silhouettes of Winter Olympians overlaying. Various publications have reached out to Google to comment on the doodle however they want the illustration to speak for itself.

Below the doodle was a quote from the Olympic charter:
  The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

The Google Doodle from the day of the Sochi Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony

The four Olympic rings
On February 7th 2014 it was the Winter Olympics opening ceremony which took place at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi. 40,000 people turned out to see the launch of the games which was debatably rather dull. The embarrassment of only 4 our of the 5 Olympic rings appearing did make the show slightly more interesting though.

Not everything about this Winter Olympics has been negative though. On the positive side, the Sochi Olympics has broken the world record for the furthest distance an Olympic torch has travelled.

The torch travelled a staggering 40,389 miles and even went into space!

The Sochi Winter Olympics have only just started and already they have been subject to mass amount of controversy and hysteria. This will definitely be a Winter Olympics not forgotten any time in the foreseeable future.