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by
Rick Moran

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January 20, 2014 - 1:23 pm
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There is a good summation of the problems with the Sochi Winter Olympics by Frances Weaver in The Week today. It’s about what you’d expect from modern day Russia ruled by former KGB agent Vladamir Putin. In fact, the Olympic movement hasn’t seen anything remotely like it.

First, the cost: $51 billion. By contrast, the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 cost around $8 billion. And Putin, who showed up in Guatemala in 2007 to personally lobby the IOC for Sochi, received the bid largely because he promised to spend $12 billion.

How does $12 billion turn into $51 billion?

Attempting to stage winter events in a subtropical resort known as the “Russian Riviera” is an expensive, climate-defying business. Though the 7,600-foot-high slopes at the neighboring mountain resort of Krasnaya Polyana are almost guaranteed February snow, the same can’t be said for the lower slopes or at sea level, where the average daytime winter temperature is a pleasant 52 degrees. So officials have had to drain swamps, store last year’s snow, and install 400 snowmaking machines. Meanwhile, at least 70,000 laborers — many of them migrant workers working seven days a week for as little as $500 a month — were shipped in to build more than a dozen venues, 20,000 new hotel rooms, new roads, bridges, and tunnels, a renovated airport, and new railway lines. There is also a more sinister reason why the budget will surpass even the $40 billion Beijing spent on the extravagant 2008 Summer Olympics.

What is that?

Corruption. “The Sochi Olympics are an unprecedented thieves’ caper,” says former deputy prime minister and opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. He claims that some $26 billion in phony costs may have been creamed off by contractors, many of whom are Putin cronies. Consider the new 31-mile road and railway that run from the beachfront town of Adler to the Krasnaya Polyana ski resort, overseen by Vladimir Yakunin, a former KGB general and Putin pal who heads Russian Railways. The new route into Sochi cost an estimated $8.7 billion — more than Vancouver spent staging the entire Winter Olympics in 2010. For that sum, calculated the Russian edition of Esquire, Russia could have paved the entire road with beluga caviar.

A waste of good caviar, that. But what this idiocy really reveals is the nauseating greed of the Olympic “movement.”

It’s important to know that the International Olympic Committee exists for one reason only: to make money for its members and cronies. The pious proclamations about the brotherhood of man and the “Olympic spirit” is a beard to mask the fact that all the marketing, broadcast rights, naming rights (“The Official Underarm Deodorant of the Olympic Games!”), and corporate partnerships are various ways to spread the wealth to favored clients and hangers-on. Some of the billions taken in by the IOC every four years goes to putting on the games. More goes to various Olympic organizing committees and national Olympic committees. But 10% is for “administrative costs.” Where does the other 90% go?

The IOC distributes some of Olympic marketing revenue to organisations throughout the Olympic Movement to support the staging of the Olympic Games and to promote the worldwide development of sport. The IOC retains approximately 10% of Olympic marketing revenue for the operational and administrative costs of governing the Olympic Movement.

The broadcast rights alone for Sochi brought in more than $4 billion, representing 47% of the take. That means that almost $8 billion is taken in by the IOC over a four-year period. That’s a lot of loose cash floating around.

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Top Rated Comments   
We can do an Olympics here without Homeland Security and TSA involvement. All the Olympians have to do is sneak across the Mexican border and everything will be fine.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (17)
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my buddy's aunt makes $81 an hour on the computer . She has been fired for six months but last month her paycheck was $18695 just working on the computer for a few hours. over here.......... http://www.works12.com
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Russia is never going to change. Doesn't matter who is in charge. The leader is always some variety of thug, never mind the political trappings. They get either a clever thug, or a stupid thug. Putin is pretty clever. He's playing a very mediocre hand in terms of national power (i.e., economy, military, etc.) for all it is worth.

Contrast that to the snotty left wing punk running the most powerful country in the world...into the ground.

But these Olympics, they are standard Russia. This is Russia in microcosm: massive corruption, iron-handed security apparatus (which might not work anyway), rabid internal tension...this is Russia. Always has been Russia.

That's why they don't get to host the Olympics that often.

Still, I hope, against all odds, for the sake of the athletes and tourists and local folk of Sochi, that it comes off well anyway.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
To think that Mitt Romney was the head of the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympics, and they went off flawlessly, and on the heels of 911.

And to think that in 1984 the Los Angeles Olympics showed a huge profit, and were done in spectacular fashion, on a shoe string.

But will also bet, that many eyes will be glued to the opening ceremonies and the top flight competition.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Warning! The games could be a hazard to your health. DON'T GO!
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Russians are drawn to power.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
The main event looks to be the Chechens vs. the Russians.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Putin, he of many bribes
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
In history? I would say that was the one held by Herod the Evil in Caesarea, where he (as usual) bled the Jews white to provide pagan entertainment for the Greek colonialists and other such riffraff.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
On a positive note, at least it's not the World Cup brought to you by the Muslim Brotherhood and its slavelike construction mills. FIFA might well champ them IOC in the corruption games.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Olympics are held every 2 years as the IOC moved the next scheduled 1996 Winter Games to 1994. It is easier for the IOC to shake down governments and corporations every 2 years for each olympic game than to shake them down twice every 4. The IOC is in the same league as the UN, the former League of Nations, the European Union, and the IPCC. It's all about the money. http://www.nytimes.com/1986/10/15/sports/new-olympic-cycle-approved.html
26 weeks ago
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