This isn’t really about technology, but it’s a topic that I thought was pretty interesting. Unless you’re living under a rock, you are aware that the olympics are taking place in Sochi, Russia. Similarly, unless you’re a luddite, you are aware that there are a lot of problems with the various venues – construction still underway, poor quality control, incomplete setup, the list goes on and on. There’s a twitter account dedicated to tracking exactly what is going on – @SochiFails. There may have been something similar for the 2010 olympics held in Vancouver, but the worst I can recall is the unexpected weather and lack of snow. No doubt some of that is related to the popularity and reach of twitter today than four years ago, but a lot still has to be attributed to the location itself.
Of course, not everybody agrees that #SochiProblems is actually a problem, but is more of a reflection on the people going to Sochi and their expectations – Sarah Kaufman’s article #SochiProblems Is More of An Embarrassment For America Than It Is For Russia is probably the best one I’ve come across. Some of her points are certainly valid – it seems that people have never travelled outside of the US, Canada and Western Europe, their expectations are so outlandish. Yes folks, in lots of countries you cannot flush toilet paper, you put it in a bin beside the toilet. For a reporter to be so flabbergasted by this suggests that they’ve never travelled anywhere, ever. I also disagree with everybody complaining about the translations – literal translations from one language to another are nothing new, as evidenced by the amusing instructions we all get when we assemble furniture.
I think the actual issue is related to the expectations as defined by the amount of money spent – for $51 billion, you’d almost expect the streets to be paved in gold. The fact that workers aren’t paid, that promises made years ago to upgrade or create infrastructure came to nothing – these are the things to get up in arms about. The question should be: why are things incomplete when somebody obviously made outrageous sums of money? In light of the horrendous political climate in Russia, the LGBT issues, the outright corruption – why did the IOC decide to proceed, or not put safeguards in place to ensure that everything would be delivered on time, and smoothly? All blame should go to the IOC, not to the host country, and certainly not to the locals.
Apparently I felt it was the fault of the IOA, not the IOC. I guess I was too fixated on them after reading about how the Indian competitors were there under the “Olympic” flag as the IOA had serious issues.