The Problem with Sochi
Cardboard doors. Toilets but no stalls. Bumpy half pipes.
The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, are shaping up to be one of the most corrupt, misplanned, and unsafe games in recent memory, maybe in history.
Russia had initially estimated the costs to be around $12 billion. As of October 2013, the combined cost of the Games had cost $51 billion, by far the most expensive Olympics ever. But, despite all of this money, there have been incidents of hotels not being ready,malfunctioning Olympic rings, and widespread corruption.
The Russian Olympics demonstrates a common problem with the IOC- their initiative to let countries/cities who would not normally be considered for the Games to host. Not many people had heard of Sochi and had not considered it a winter town- it was actually considered a resort town before it was chosen for the games- And now, it is the host of the most expensive-but not lucrative- Games ever.
If you look at the four most expensive games in history, they are not in established cities like London, Atlanta, or Vancouver. There in cities like Nagano, Athens, Beijing, and Sochi- cities that don’t have as advanced infrastructure as the ones mentioned before.
And the downsides of hosting the Olympics have already been well debated. As Professor Emeritus Robert K Barney so eloquently put it, “In point of fact, the historical record of long-term benefit from Olympic related sports facilities is one indelibly burdened by matinence and operation costs that rise well over revenue”. Unless cities can find good long-term use for their facilities, he says, they lose proposition to a city almost immediately. These problems are worse if the place that is hosting is not a more established city.
If the IOC really wants to lessen the costs of the Olympics, they should put them in more established, reliable, safer cities. The 2016 Summer Olympics, set to be in Rio de Janerio- a very unsafe and undeveloped city- are already facing problems.
The IOC needs to have a change in their policy- they believe an Olympic Game can make a country, while in reality, an Olympic Game often breaks it.