Annals of the Sochi Fiasco
Just as the Kremlin told Russians they’d do great at the Vancouver Olympiad and turned out to be lying shamelessly, the Kremlin’s claims about being able to conduct a successful Olympiad four years from now in Sochi (a beach resort!) are equally dishonest. You can see the failure coming just by walking into a Russian souvenir shop.
Sports Illustrated reporter Luke Winn, for instance, visted the Vancouver Olympic Village souvenir shop operated by “Bosco Sport, the Russian company that’s making all the gear for the Sochi 2014 Games.” The photo above shows three items from the store’s shelves. Winn calls the shop’s offerings ” the most heinous collection of merchandise I’ve ever seen at a sporting event.” Ouch.
The red jacket on the right costs an astounding $1,199.
Not only is the merchadise of abhorrent quality, embarrassingly ugly and revoltingly overpriced, it’s also not even made in Russia but rather in China, for a perfect triple threat of utter Russian failure. Winn relates that the only people who are buying the stuff are wealthy Russians, who apparently have no taste at all. He quotes the Australian shopgirl (that’s right, the shop is not even staffed by Russians): “[Russians] are coming in and spending, like, thousands on this stuff.”
Winn mercilessly mocks the Russian effort to create cool merchandise, which fails as dismally as the Russian athletes on the playing fields in Vancouver. It’s entirely predictable, when the country languishes in a neo-Stalinist dictatorship where criticism and introspection are banned and an “emperor’s new clothes” environment pervades. Nobody will tell the Almighty Ruler that he is going astray, so he goes further astray, and when when he is predictably humiliated he simply has people killed.
The trainwreck that is Sochi 2014 must be stopped now. The risk to Russia’s reputation and the safety of the athletes is far too great, to say nothing of the expense that Russia simply cannot afford. We call up on the IOC to retract the Russian games are hold them in a more suitable country, before it is too late for all concerned.