• Thu, Feb 6 - 10:00 am ET

From Stray Dogs To Possible Terrorist Attacks, The Entire Sochi Situation Is Nerve-Wracking

Previews - Winter Olympics Day - 6I cannot imagine what it must be like for all of the millions of people arriving in Sochi for the Winter Olympics. Yesterday on Twitter journalists started posting photographs of the conditions in the Russian city where the olympics are being held, and judging from what I have seen, it’s just plain awful.

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People are reporting toilets that sit side by side next to each other, with warnings not to flush them. Many people have been told not to drink the tap water, and one journalist posted this:

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It helps to keep in mind that the winter olympics cost 37 billion euros.

So not only is Sochi not exactly ready to host the winter games, reports have been coming in about all sorts of other terrifying things. According to the New York Times, hundreds of stray dogs have been shot or poisoned in an effort to clean up the streets for the start of the games on Friday.

Stray dogs have been found inside sports venues and have even wandered into some of the residences for Olympic athletes and visiting journalists. Dogs can also be found throughout the city and in the mountain areas where skiing and other outdoor events will take place. The Olympic Committee does not have responsibility for areas outside its official venues.

In addition to the horrible dog problem, the International Business Times is reporting that a terrorist attack is “almost certain.” The United States has stationed two warships, which can launch helicopters into Sochi in case an evacuation is needed, in the nearby Black Sea.

And now athletes competing in the games can’t even get their yogurt. Chobani yogurt is an official sponsor of the US Olympic team and but is being held up at an airport in New Jersey because of ”unattainable” Russian Customs certifications. Russia still won’t allow the shipment.

And now according to ABC we have to worry about toothpaste bombs.

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning to U.S. and some foreign airlines traveling to Russia for the Olympic Games to be on the lookout for toothpaste containers, which some intelligence indicates may actually hold ingredients that could be used to construct a bomb aboard a plane, a senior U.S. official told ABC News.

I can’t fathom what it must be like to be attending the winter games, or to be the mom of an olympian competing in the winter games. I’m amazingly far away from there and this whole thing is making me terribly nervous. Not only do you have to think about athletes who may not have access to clean water to drink or a place to pee in private, now you have to worry about threats of terrorism. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak has said that concerns about terrorist attacks on the winter olympics have been overblown by the media:

“The level of fear should be lower,” Kozak said through an interpreter. “The level of threat in Sochi is no worse than in New York, Washington or Boston. Based on information we received from our intelligence services, there’s no reason to believe Sochi is under more threat than any city on the planet.”

 

I really hope he is right about this.

(Image: getty images)

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  • libraryofbird

    The Olympics makes me feel like a kid on Christmas morning but this year it’s more like a kid on Christmas morning in a horror movie.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      RIGHT? My kid was all mom we need to watch the Olympics it’s a total train wreck

  • CMJ

    Every time I see anything from Sochi I just think – WHO IN THE IOC THOUGHT THIS WOULD TURN OUT OKAY?

    • elle

      Theg embers whose pockets were being lined by Russia? And that’s actually not a slam on Russia but on the IOC whose members seem happy to take bribes for giving you the Olympics. Seriously I live in SLC, intense scandal that broke in 1998 with bribery allegations.

    • CMJ

      I agree totally. I just like yelling that when I see pictures of pee water coming from taps :)

    • Armchair Observer

      Hey, I’m just glad someone’s finally topped Atlanta’s level of graft and chicanery. And while we managed to keep the lipstick on long enough for the cameras to stop rolling, the housing for the athletes was effectively condemned after the games and had to be taken down to the studs to be converted to college dorms.

      *I promise the above is 90% sarcasm, 8% snark, and only 2% true joy…I think.

    • GPMeg

      RIGHT?!

      *Don’t worry, I’m always happy when other cities muck it up worse than ATL. I was only a kid at the time, but looking back we were just as bad as anyone else!

    • Alicia Kiner

      I know!! Seriously, WHAT were they thinking? South Korea has their stuff together WAY better than this. Course, South Korea has a complete an utter idiot with his finger on the trigger of all kinds of stuff pointed right at them, so that probably had something to do with them not being picked. I realize there are always delays when you have any kind of construction project, but really? There was a report that the ski jumps and snowboarding areas are ridiculously unsafe to practice on, let alone compete. And they JUST finished the road into this town. Unbelievable.

    • CMJ

      Like – we get it, they bribed you….but man, you guys aren’t make the whole “we’ll pick your city for a specified amount of money” inconspicuous AT ALL.

  • TheGiantPeach

    I love the Olympics, and I’m usually sooooo excited to watch, but I just can’t help but feel there’s a huge black cloud over this year’s games. I’ll still watch but it just won’t be the same.

  • Natasha B

    Who’s genius idea was it to have the Olympics there in the first place?!

    • Bunny Lucia

      The people getting bribed.

  • ChopChick

    Ugh, I’m so nervous about watching these games and the terrible things that may happen. I do wonder if this will finally force the IOC to think about who it is awarded these Olympics to…

  • Emily

    I have had a bad feeling about this since the closing ceremonies in Vancouver, when everything turned from fun moose dancing around to seemingly Soviet-era troops marching through.

  • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Ogden

    I just read an article with a bunch of tweets from journalists about their Sochi hotels including the water ones (WHAT THE EWWW) and some from CNN about how after a day there, only one of the ELEVEN hotel rooms they’d booked was available. Russia, the whole world is watching, and it is giving you the stank-eye.

  • SDS

    I have mixed feelings on this. Having lived in Russia, I can tell you, most of this is par for the course. There is a huge stray cat/dog problem. The water coming out of the tap is often not suitable for drinking, shaving, or anything else unless you’ve boiled it first. The heat/electricity/water can be shut off without warning and for days at a time, and all Russians can do is shrug their shoulders and wait for it to come back on. There is no such thing as a “confirmed reservation,” and many hoteliers and vendors think nothing of changing up the terms of your agreement once you’ve arrived and have no recourse but to pay the extra money. For Americans all of this is maddening, but for Russians (and many others in the developing world), it’s just how things are. So while I sympathize with those who would say Russia “isn’t ready” to be hosting the Olympics, you can’t always bring your American customer service standards with you when you travel internationally.
    The terrorist threats — which I am not convinced have been taken seriously enough — and Russia’s anti-gay policies, however, put me in the “should have had it somewhere else” camp.

    • Jules

      Wow I thought these things were only problems in Romania. Turns out all of Eastern Europe is fucked!
      Seriously though, I hope the visitors to Sochi have a bottled water fund.

  • CrazyFor Kate

    I live in Russia (Moscow), and I’m absolutely terrified. There’s every chance of an attack here (I’m refusing to ride the Metro during the games, and am lucky to have that luxury – walking distance from work), but I’m more concerned about the banks. The amount of sketchy borrowing and bad credit going into this is so bad that most expats I know are sending their money home before the games are over – and the integrity of Russia’s banks (and even the Rouble itself) are starting to come into question. Which would be a disaster for Russia, its people, the global economy, and yours truly! As concerned as you guys are about Sochi, you are very lucky to be far from it all…hoping everyone in Russia makes it out ok, though I am convinced there will be negative repercussions in one form or another.

    • Alicia Kiner

      I was wondering about the economy there as well. There are reports circling that the builders are over budget by $40 million US . That money has to come from somewhere. The world economy is already so fragile. I can’t believe this is going to end well for anyone. Good luck.

    • CrazyFor Kate

      The whole thing is closer to $40 billion over. Which is scary as hell. Most of it went into people’s pockets. Not the people who built it, though – many of them won’t see a kopeck.

  • Julia Sonenshein

    Yeah i’m almost too afraid to watch

  • Rachel Sea

    If anything happens to a single visitor, the IOC should be held criminally liable.

    • Bunny Lucia

      This.

      This right here, needs to be nominated for best comment of the year. I know it’s not humourous, but it’s damn true.

  • K.

    Sochi lost me with the whole may-not-be-cold-enough-for-snow deal already.