I 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.
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:
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)