Problems in Sochi Threaten Winter Olympics

Rebecca Gluck, Staff Writer

The 2014 Olympics had their fair share of problems. From security threats to unfinished hotels, athletes and journalists had an interesting stay in Sochi.

When some journalists arrived in Sochi, they were greeted by unfinished hotels and rooms. The ones that were finished were lacking in furniture, potable water, and other essentials. Several reporters shared pictures of toilets not separated by walls and signs that read “please do not flush toilet paper down the toilet.”

Much of the criticism of Sochi from American journalists is feelings that still linger from the Cold War. It seems like reporters are attempting to find something wrong with miniscule details of the Sochi games. For example, some pointed out that stray dogs were an issue, however, they had nothing to do with the quality of journalists’ or Olympians’ stays.

Where we live, unflushable toilet paper and yellow water seem ridiculous, but in Russia these conditions are normal. According to research from Yale, Russia ranks among the world’s worst ten countries by Environmental Performance Index, an index that accounts for water quality and adequate sanitation. American journalists failed to see both sides of the situation: yes, unclean water is unsanitary, but Russia is less economically prosperous than America and daily life there entails these conditions.

In addition to poor hotel conditions, security threats loomed throughout the duration of the Olympics. After bombings killed 34 people in Volgograd, Russia in Dec. last year, people expressed concerns regarding the safety of the Sochi Olympics.

Commissioners of the games were especially worried about Chechens and suicide bombers that could attack Sochi. Because of this, security at the games was intense. Tens of thousands of police and military members lined the events and some Olympians even advised their families to stay home. Fortunately, any potential attackers were either discouraged by the massive security efforts or contained in time to prevent disaster.