Sochi Strife: Where's the Hype?

Zara Khan

Staff Writer

This year at Latin, there seems to be less excitement and hype about the Winter Olympics in Sochi—why, then, does it seem that everywhere we look someone is talking about them? Taking place from February 7th to the 23rd, these games are a big deal: they  mark the first time that Russia has hosted the Olympic Games since the fall of the Soviet Union. Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has put an estimated 50 billion dollars into the Sochi Olympics, making these games the most expensive ones yet. These games are to show the world that Russia is doing well, and has come back over the past two decades. But, it seems that after only a couple days, the Winter Games are not off to a good start.

On twitter, a popular account named #SochiProblems has surpassed the real, official #SochiOlympics account in followers. This account features athletes and reporters pictures of disastrous hotel rooms, and pictures on the “fails” of Sochi. The account is also advertising new t-shirts featuring the four rings and one snowflake from the malfunction during the Opening Ceremony. For those of you not familiar, Sochi had five snowflakes which  would open out to make five olympic rings. However, only four of the Olympic Rings opened, leaving four rings and one snowflake. This accident seems to be generating and fueling the annoyance and sometimes anger at Sochi and all the viewers, and Olympians are feeling. One popular hashtag, BYOT, is trending upon those residing in Sochi. It means bring your own tape, referencing to the many hair dryers, shower curtains, shower rods, and light bulbs in hotels which need tape to stay up. But, there is a silver lining to all those worried about our fellow friends in Sochi. According to the Russia, the surveillance cameras show that everyone is having a good time in the hotel rooms. Yes, you can re-read that sentence.

However, there are more real problems in Sochi than bad hotels, and ring disappointments. The security issue in Sochi is a concern for many Americans, and it is a very real concern. Sochi is right behind the North Caucasus region which has dealt with conflict for years. Islamic Extremist groups have said they are going to try to interfere with the games, and are doing very well at scaring everyone. There were two terror attacks just more than a month ago, and security is worried about some female terror suspects. Also, the U.S warned airlines to watch out for tubes of toothpaste, because they are worried that the toothpaste tubes could be used as bombs. And, the snow situation in Sochi is not looking too great either. Sochi is, in reality, a summer resort town, and because of this there is not enough snow to go around for the games. Also, the Russian ban on gay propaganda was not met well by other countries. Canada fired back releasing a video on how the Olympics have always been a little gay and should stay that way.

This year people are less excited about the Olympics because of the lack of stars present. With ski star Lindsey Vonn out, Apolo Ohno finished with the games, and Shaun White dropping out of his competition to solely focus on winning gold for the third year in a row on the halfpipe. And one Chicagoan favorite, Shani Davis, is back in speed skating, Davis is the first black athlete to win an individual gold medal at the winter olympics, and he is a Chicago native. And with all these stars gone, comes a chance for newcomers to take hold. 18 year old Michaela Siffron is favored to win the gold in the ski slalom, and is being dubbed as the next Lindsay Vonn. Also, figure perfectionist skater, Gracie Gold, is a favorite, and she has the perfect last name for it. And one last name, Lolo Jones is a part of the bobsled team, drawing in her huge fan base. But, many critics are criticizing jones assuming that she just made the team because of her celebrity status.

Also, with Sochi being heavily criticized, we must remember that as the Olympic Games get bigger, there is a higher chance for things to go wrong. Sure, the snowflakes didn’t do their jobs, and the hotels aren’t everybodys favorite, but aren’t the games supposed to be about the world coming together? The hotels are not supposed to be about five star elegance, they are supposed to be about the world coming together, and experiencing the great things Sochi has to offer. So during these games let’s not focus on the negative problems the world is doing such a good job of highlighting, but rather the positive aspects of Sochi. Especially that ice dancing is a great distraction from your math test tomorrow.  

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