Green Room

2014 Winter Olympics: Bring your umbrella

posted at 8:23 am on February 6, 2013 by

Maybe, in retrospect, it was a mistake to award the 2014 Winter Olympics to a place known as “the warmest place in Russia.”  Just sayin’:

The Winter Olympics is just one year away, opening Feb. 7, 2014, so perhaps there’s still time for the press people to figure out how to deal with journalists, for hotels to provide WiFi and for the organizers to turn rain into snow.

Yes, it rained here this week — hard — and not just on the subtropical coast where enclosed ice rinks are frozen nicely, but up in the mountains 30 miles away. Oh, and the very top peak above the Roza Khutor resort was closed for fear of avalanche. Skiers and snowboarders coming down from lower elevations, at 4,900 and 3,700 feet, wore raincoats over their parkas. …

Whether it will snow has been an underlying concern of the Olympics, but one that has been brought firmly under government control because President Vladimir Putin, who loves to ski in Sochi, has decided these Games will show the real, modern, vibrant Russia to the world, snow included.

Sochi is the warmest place in Russia, a palm-fringed city that runs 25 miles along the Black Sea. Tuesday morning it was 54 degrees, and the day before it was around 60. Of course it’s colder in the mountains and regularly snows — but regularly enough? That question has been answered in one of Russia’s slogans, “Sochi 2014: Guaranteed Snow.”

Ah, heck, we can watch downhill skiers schussing through the passes in any run-of-the-mill Olympics.  Russia will have us watching them slushing instead.  That’ll be, er … unique.

As will be the cost:

But snow was dodgy in Vancouver, and life went on. As for Vancouver, a few days ago Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak estimated Sochi will cost $51 billion, far more than Vancouver’s $6 billion. The previous big spender was China, at an estimated $40 billion for the 2008 Summer Games. There’s a lot to build here — this was a dated summer resort with little development in the mountains. Private investors are putting up 20,000 hotel rooms, but expensive roads, tunnels through mountains, railroads, bridges and power plants are also soaking up the rubles.

Shouldn’t this have been something that the IOC considered when choosing this venue?  And really, why would any nation want to host this event and spend this kind of fortune on one-off accommodations?  Very clearly, Sochi didn’t need any of this infrastructure before the Olympics, and they probably won’t need it afterward, either.

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Meanwhile, Moscow is in the middle of its snowiest winter in the last 100 years.

Steve Eggleston on February 6, 2013 at 8:54 AM

I’m extremely happy that I could give a rat’s a$$ about the Olympics.
What a waste of time, IMO.
But to those who compete, good luck.

Badger40 on February 6, 2013 at 8:55 AM

Perfect time to make everyone believe global warming is ruining the Winter Olympics. We’ll have two weeks of nonstop blather about carbon emissions intermixed with sports stories.

Anyone want to bet that doesn’t happen?

ButterflyDragon on February 6, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Perfect time to make everyone believe global warming is ruining the Winter Olympics. We’ll have two weeks of nonstop blather about carbon emissions intermixed with sports stories.

Anyone want to bet that doesn’t happen?

ButterflyDragon on February 6, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Given NBC has the US TV rights, that’s a given.

Indeed, hyping Gorebal “Warming” is the reason why Vancouver had the last Winter Olympics and Sochi has the next one.

Steve Eggleston on February 6, 2013 at 9:10 AM

$51 billion? Holy crap. They’re trying to make Athens, which spent a ton on new venues only to have most of them sit unused and weed-infested today, look frugal, aren’t they?

changer1701 on February 6, 2013 at 9:15 AM

Just sayin’

Aaaarrrrgggghhhh

MechanicalBill on February 6, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Anyone who thinks U.S. taxpayers aren’t footing a goodly portion of the 51 bb, isn’t thinking right.

Comments above on the global warning scam are exactly right. To the un/mis-informed, Russia and Canada equal cold winters, so if it’s warm at a winter Olympic venue, it must be an anomaly caused by us, i.e., U.S., crazed uber-consumers of the earth’s resources.

Slightly o/t, we laugh at Hitler inserting politics into the Olympics in the 30′s, but he was a piker compared to the world-wide socialist cabal entrenched in power now. Slutty “singer” close friend of the president’s wife, blows out power at the superdome — TWICE — during reheasals when all the other lights in the stadium weren’t even lit, but the blatherers in the booth (who knew about it) never bothered to mention it when speculating about the third-world power loss at the super bowl.

Get used to it folks. This is our future.

erp on February 6, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Shouldn’t this have been something that the IOC considered when choosing this venue?

The only consideration was the size of the bribe…

JohnGalt23 on February 6, 2013 at 10:18 AM

See the “Winter Olympics” episode of The Goodies. The characters are sent to compete in the Winter Olympics held at the North Pole. They don’t do very well on the snow and ice, so they heat it up. Result 1: Competition happens in deep water. Ice skating events resemble sychronized swimming. Result 2: When they go back to London, they realize the water level has gone up. A lot.

So maybe Result 2 this is the reason they picked “the warmest place in Russia” for the Winter Olympics: to trick people into assuming that that Global Warming thing is still a “real thing.” ;)

apostic on February 6, 2013 at 11:53 AM

They had issues with the weather in Vancouver in 2010 as well. Vancouver is NOT known for its winter weather either.

Alia on February 6, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Bleh…hard commenting sometimes on a touch screen.

Apparently, the Winter Olympics are not meant to take place in winter anymore.

Alia on February 6, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Well in fairness, it’s the warmest place in Russia. Most outsiders probably assumed that just meant the ice thaws for a couple of weeks every August.

They had issues with the weather in Vancouver in 2010 as well. Vancouver is NOT known for its winter weather either.

Alia on February 6, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Heh. So of all of the countries that have hosted the Winter Olympics, it’s Canada and Russia that can’t provide a reliable winter….

Gingotts on February 6, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Slutty “singer” close friend of the president’s wife, blows out power at the superdome — TWICE — during reheasals when all the other lights in the stadium weren’t even lit, but the blatherers in the booth (who knew about it) never bothered to mention it when speculating about the third-world power loss at the super bowl.

Get used to it folks. This is our future.

erp on February 6, 2013 at 10:02 AM

And furthermore once the news broke of the power outages from her rehearsals, the media wasted all of twenty seconds to confirm that she was absolutely not responsible for the power outage during the game.

They don’t know what did cause it, of course, but it absolutely certainly wasn’t the thing that had caused it twice in the previous week. No way. Beyonce blowing out the power is a minor story… just another Super Bowl hilarity along lines of Janet Jackson’s boob, or Prince’s guitar looking like a wiener. But because she and her thug husband are close and visible friends of the dictator in the White House, the Goebbels media needs to rush a coverup.

Gingotts on February 6, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Probably chosen intentionally so the enviro-fanatics could scream “global warming” and tell tall tales of how we’ll never see another winter Olympics if we don’t start demanding carbon taxes and give more control of our lives to people who want us to starve and kill us.

darwin on February 6, 2013 at 1:19 PM

See the “Winter Olympics” episode of The Goodies. The characters are sent to compete in the Winter Olympics held at the North Pole. They don’t do very well on the snow and ice, so they heat it up. Result 1: Competition happens in deep water. Ice skating events resemble sychronized swimming. Result 2: When they go back to London, they realize the water level has gone up. A lot.

So maybe Result 2 this is the reason they picked “the warmest place in Russia” for the Winter Olympics: to trick people into assuming that that Global Warming thing is still a “real thing.”

apostic on February 6, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Wow, I haven’t seen The Goodies in a billion years. Ecky-Thump, anyone?

Ward Cleaver on February 6, 2013 at 1:56 PM

….Slutty “singer” close friend of the president’s wife, blows out power at the superdome — TWICE — during reheasals when all the other lights in the stadium weren’t even lit, but the blatherers in the booth (who knew about it) never bothered to mention it when speculating about the third-world power loss at the super bowl.

Get used to it folks. This is our future.

erp on February 6, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Heh, my brother-in-law runs the lights for Beyonce. Supposedly he’s been “cleared” (wink wink, nudge nudge ;)

ornery_independent on February 6, 2013 at 1:59 PM

Vancouver may not be known for its cold winters (thankfully since I live downtown Vancouver and want to avoid the hassle of snow and slush), 2010 was an off year for snow in this area. This year has been outrageous for snow both on the local mountains (Cypress, which was the real problem during the Olympics) and at Whistler/Blackcomb (where much of the competition was held). Who knows, maybe the IOC will decide to jettison Russia and send the games back to Vancouver.

grimble grumble on February 6, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Sochi is barely 25 miles from what used to be the border with Georgia. But a few years ago the Russians intervened on the side of separatists in South Ossetia, and after destroying much of the Georgian military Russia ended up with part of Georgia.

It is quite remarkable that Russia was able to get away with this aggression, and that the International Olympic Committee did not choose a new site for the 2014 Winter Games.

J Baustian on February 7, 2013 at 12:21 AM