With the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia coming to an end this Sunday, the question if Russia was ready or not to host the Olympics has been answered. Despite all of the last minute preparations, the Olympics Games themselves ran just about as smoothly hoped for.
“With everything you heard about how unprepared Russia was before the games, I think that the Olympics have gone well,” said Ramapo junior Greg Mascola.
There was an early sign of trouble for the Sochi Games when the Olympic torch went out 44 times on its way to Sochi. The flame’s journey from Athens, Greece to Sochi was the longest journey an Olympic torch has taken, as it passed through all of Russia’s 83 regions.
There was even video footage of a guard lighting the Olympic torch with his pocket lighter.
As the media and athletes began to arrive in Sochi, the dismal state of the city’s hotels and other buildings became a major cause for concern. Many of the hotels were unfinished, with holes in walls, and some even lacked flooring.
In some hotels, visitors were told that water in the hotel was not working. If the water did work, they were told it was unsafe to drink or bathe with it.
The bathrooms in these hotels provided an awkward experience for visitors, with toilets side-by-side and notes on the wall to not flush used toilet paper.
Outside the hotels, Russian officials attempted to solve the stray dog situation in Sochi in the days leading to the games by hiring a private company to catch and dispose of the strays.
Combined with the city’s various unfinished buildings and rubble, conditions in Russia were not what would have been expected from an Olympic host, just days before the opening ceremony.
The other major red flag heading into the winter games was the alleged corruption and misuse of Olympic funds. The total cost of the Olympic games is estimated at about $50 billion according to Forbes.com, more than any other Olympic games.
“It’s really strange that they could have spent that much, and still seemed so unprepared for the games,” Mascola said. “Some people think that money seemed to disappear into the pockets of Russian Olympic officials.”
Despite all of the financial concerns and issues with the state of Sochi heading into the games, the biggest fear surrounding the games, a terrorist attack, has not been a threat so far.
Prior to the games, security was a major concern. On Jan. 10, the United States State Department issued a warning to all U.S. citizens traveling to Sochi that the Olympics could be an attractive target for a terrorist attack, but did not mention any specific threats.
However, as the Sochi Games enter their final days, the focus has been athletics, and security has not been a major concern. While the conditions in Sochi may not have been optimal, they did not impede the progress or presentation of the games.
“You could say that the city was unprepared, and people will talk about that for now,” Mascola said. “In the long run, I think the games themselves will be what people remember.”