They Couldn’t Care Less Even After Getting US $ 5,000,000,000, an amount that most of us would kill for! Could the Sochi Olympics disaster been avoided?
Why was the famous and looked forward to event such a huge disaster? Could Sochi Olympics have been managed better? What went wrong and how could it have been avoided. We have addressed some of these below so that you get a clear picture into the US $5,000,000,000 disaster.
Sochi is a vibrant beautiful city located along the Black Sea coast, at Krasnodar Krai in Russia. It is near the Caucasus Mountains and is very popular as a resort town on account of its salubrious climate, with warm summers and gentle winters, hence its attraction for Russians to come and sun themselves during the fierce cold winter seasons. Sochi has also been popular with hosting alpine sports events and hence on this basis it was selected to be the host for the 22nd Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games in 2014.
Sochi was considered to be the ideal choice owing to its tropical charm, and located adjacent to the picturesque Caucasus mountain chain. Based on the edges of the black sea, it has lovely pebbled and sandy beaches. Other things which add to its attractiveness are the attractive scenery, parks and mountains and Soviet style architecture which give its elegance and polish. It is considered as an escape from the cold for the Elite. Sochi has attained World Heritage Status and has a rich biodiversity reserve and tea plantations. It is no wonder that Sochi was selected as a host for the 22nd Winter Olympics, the perfect setting for sports and relaxation.
With all these things going for it, the winter Olympics at Sochi should have been a tremendous success and a source of unmitigated pride for Russia. Yet it did not happen that way! What went wrong? Let us look at some of the reasons why the Sochi Olympics turned out to be a disaster and what could have been done to prevent this from taking place? The recently concluded Sochi Olympics 2014 in Russia has been an unmitigated disaster in terms of organisation, planning and maintenance. There have been too many disasters which could have been avoided if the organizers had planned for this in advance. Let us look at some of the avoidable blunders, which have spoilt Russia’s reputation.
Did Sochi Olympics begin on the wrong foot?
The first sign that all was not in order was the fact that the expenditure budget exceeded the planned amount (US $12 billion) to greater than US $51 billion US dollars and it became the most expensive Olympics ever to be conducted on earth. But did spending so much money help in helping the city stand up to the huge responsibility of conducting this global event on a scale to be proud of? No, it didn’t as you will see later.
In addition, there were many controversies dogging the Olympics even before the commencement of the Olympics which included the negative attitude against homosexuality and threats by Islamic militants as well as huge corruption accusations which were blamed for the cost overruns leading to the overshooting of the budget. Economically, this event would have had a negative effect on Russian economy. The mass killing of stray dogs ahead of the event provoked criticism worldwide from animal activists. After all this, there were more disasters from the day of the opening ceremony itself. The city was completely ill prepared to host the visitors for the events. The journalists suffered the worst.
a. The Opening Ceremony – Les faux pas started on the day of the opening ceremony itself. There were supposed to be five giant snowflakes which would form the rings of the Olympic logo but one of it did not light up. These were a huge embarrassment for the hosts. They should have bothered to check if the electrical fittings were all working or not. The glitch led to the cancellation of the pyrotechnics display. Russia compounded it further by using fake tv footage showing the intact five rings coming together, to cover up what happened at this point. Logistical mistakes were bad enough but this was worsened by trying to fool the public. Probably honest admission and rectification could have been a better strategy.
b. The Olympic Village was not completed on time. There were scenes of abandoned waterslides, and incomplete courses, which should not have happened as already there was a lot of expenditure on the Olympics which resulted in cash overruns. There should have been proper project management and financial management to ensure and prevent this.
c. There was total mess regarding accommodation for visitors. Either the hotels were not completed or there were mishandling of booking records of the visitors. There were problems with plumbing, with bathroom fittings and connections. One wonders what kind of preparation they were done. Some rooms lacked floors, while in others, there were no separation between toilets. The housekeeping was not good, rooms were in shambles, curtains and upholstery was down. Amenities were not organised properly, with gyms and spas thrown together. It was obvious that there was a massive lack of foresight and planning both in terms of design as well as in management. There were reports of sewage leaking from pipes and unhygienic drinking water.
The list of loopholes did not end here. Here is more of what went wrong with Sochi Olympics.
e. There were even rumours of surveillance by authorities who had installed cameras in bathrooms, w hich were actually a gross interference in the privacy of guests.
f. There were even unpaved roads and uncovered manholes in the streets and roads in Sochi.
g. Russian hostility to the LGBT community as well as the killing of stray dogs did not exactly help matters.
h. There was a general perception of the whole event being a joke and just conducted for the glorification of the Russian president as well as being a colossal exercise in graft and corruption with more than 90 % of the budgeted money being wasted and lost as graft.
All these processes should have been in place, at least a couple of months before the Olympics. There should have been auditing procedures in place to evaluate the progress of construction, the quality control so as to avoid inconvenience to the sportsmen and women as well as the visitors. Sochi was replete with such incidents.
Image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/88/View_on_Sotsji_from_black_sea.jpg