Sochi Winter Olympics exceed allotted budget

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Alex Paterson's picture
Katie Akers

In 2007, Sochi, Russia was chosen to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. When Russia had bid to hold the Winter Olympics, it was estimated that Sochi would need about 12 billion dollars to prepare for the Olympics. However, the recent numbers show that Sochi has spent about 50 billion dollars—four times more than the original budget.

However, even with going over budget, Sochi still wasn’t prepared for the amount of people that flooded in to witness the Winter Olympics.

According to CNN’s website, “The Russian government says that much of this has been sunk into infrastructure—upgrading travel links such as airports and train stations, building new roads, houses, hotels and conference centers and providing the other necessary utilities to welcome thousands of visitors.”

Unlike Canada, who spent 7.4 billion dollars, Sochi had to build their arenas for the Winter Olympics due to their warmer weather during this time of year. Sochi built their ramps for the events, but built them too steep. Norwegian snowboarder Totstein Horgmo crashed during practice, fracturing his collarbone and was not able to compete. Officials were forced to rebuild to ramps in order for it to be safe. Vancouver, on the other hand, was able to host the games at a nearby ski resort.

Right before the Olympics had started, Sochi admitted that three out of the nine hotels that were supposed to accommodate media personnel were not completely ready. This left some media personnel with no room to stay in after they had arrived in Sochi. Furthermore, the hotels were covered in trash and poorly built, which cost Russia an increased amount of money in order to fix.

“Within the three remaining hotels, the rooms are currently going through the final testing process and check of their services,” the organizing committee said on February 1. “At the end of the testing process guests will then be accommodated in the hotels they initially booked.”

However, the accommodations were not what they were promised to be. Door knobs were missing from many rooms, there have been many difficulties regarding the toilets, the beds were incredibly small and the water was not potable.
The condition of the streets have also faced scrutiny. Journalists took pictures of a manhole that wasn’t covered, putting those nearby at risk.

Environmental officials were also concerned with Sochi, due to the illegal waste dumping, contaminated drinking water, dangerous construction on unsound ground, light pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and disruption to native animal populations and habitats, according to the Washington Post.

There was also the threat of terrorists potentially interrupting the games.

“Last summer the leader of the militant group Caucasus Emirate urged Islamic separatists to use force to disrupt the Olympics, which he described as ‘satanic dances on the bones of our ancestors.’ Two months ago, two suicide bombers killed 34 people in Volgograd, which is 400 miles from Sochi,” according to an article on USA Today’s website.

The stray dogs have also brought a lot of negative attention to Sochi, as it was reported that they were poisoning them in order to get rid of them.

“Animal rights activists in Sochi sent CNN photos of three recent contracts signed between the Sochi city government and Basia Services, a company headquartered in Rostov-on-Don. In one of the documents, dated May 24, 2013, the city government agreed to pay the company 99,450 rubles [roughly $2,800] for the ‘trapping and gathering of neglected animals,’ according to CNN’s website.

People from all over Russia were driving to Sochi in order to capture dogs and bring them to shelters, ultimately saving them from their fate if they stayed.There is no rule in Russia where you have to neuter your dog or cat. You can also get a dog or a cat and then immediately release it. This is why there are so many strays in Russia,” commented Dina Filippova, a lawyer who lives in Sochi.

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