Who’s to Blame for #SochiProblems? Let’s Start with the IOC
February 11, 2014
February 11, 2014
By now you’ve likely come across some of the “horror stories” from sports journalists covering the Olympics in Sochi. The “Sochi Problems” Twitter account has 340,000 followers–more than the official Sochi handle—so there is clearly an audience for this.
I don’t really have a problem with the complaints; they are certainly warranted. Plus, with the number of sports writers I follow on Twitter, I’m all too familiar with their travel complaints.
And yet, I can’t help but feel that something’s wrong about who’s being criticized in all the tales of hotel rooms and alien bathroom etiquette. Certainly as a host, Russia holds a degree of responsibility, but what of the IOC?
One of the IOC’s chief responsibilities is the selection of the site of the games, and you have to wonder how Sochi was deemed a strong enough candidate to host. The concerns have been abundant and now, with the games underway, they remain.
There is, of course, the matter of cost. The Sochi games are five times more expensive than the 2010 games in Vancouver. Its cost of $520 million per event shatters Beijing’s $132 per. Some of those costs have come from questionable contracts, bringing up allegations of corruption.
Then there are the rights violations not specific to the games themselves. In what way does the violent repression of the media or the institutionalized attacks on the LGBT community reflect the ideals put forth in the Olympic Charter?
It is a bit interesting how the IOC can make these crucial decisions and sit back as the host nation bears the brunt of criticism. Certainly the host volunteers for the position it is in, but the IOC also does the due diligence to ensure the games are well suited for the city.
There may be no further incidents, but to say the games are a success is a bit of a stretch. The aforementioned costs, the death squads for stray dogs and the general unpreparedness will be the game’s legacy.
Somehow, none of that will stick to the IOC.