What starts as a list of simple, not unusual problems for venues just finishing up – rooms not ready, fallen curtains, et cetera – quickly descends into a hilarious parade of horribles – no electricity, no water, no doors, no heat, no lobby, no floor. The most expensive Olympics in history, ladies and gentlemen!
Over at Grantland, Katie Baker reports on the scene on some of her own experiences, as well as stories that she’s heard:
I had yet to eat my breakfast this morning when someone regaled me with a story about a guy staying up in Sochi’s mountaintop media hotel cluster who turned on his faucet and watched as sewage spilled out. Last night, a colleague returned to her room after a long day of work to find the door swung open, a set of keys still dangling from the lock. Nothing was stolen, but a TV had finally been installed. It could have been worse: The door to one guy’s room was supposedly kicked down by workers trying to put in a cable box.
The tales from the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics go on and on: hotel reservations vanishing, shower rods and curtains nowhere to be found, workers heaving small decorative palm trees off the back of a moving truck and onto the side of the road like paperboys on bicycles.
I arrived at my hotel at the same time as a friendly journalist from Montreal, and when we got to our adjacent rooms (both supposedly temporary until our real rooms are ready), his door handle broke off in his hand. His first souvenir! My bathroom has red Sharpie marks delineating where additional construction should have gone, an unidentified device was attached high up on the wall with masking tape, and there was no caulking. But my hot water works, my pillow is fantastic, and I have lightbulbs, which places me in the top percentile of accommodation privilege. Stacy St. Clair had no water in her room and was told by a receptionist to avoid it even if restored: “Do not use on your face because it contains something very dangerous.” (A quick side note on the sphinxlike front desk clerks, by the way: I am legitimately infatuated with their unparalleled ability to deliver bad news.)
Baker, though, suspects that once the games actually begin, much of the complaints from journalists will die down as they focus on the actual games. She says the actual venues are beautiful (did she check to make sure they had floors?) and the mood there is festive. We’ll just have to wait to see if the opening ceremonies are interrupted by a power outage or if those wacky double-toilets start spewing out geysers of waste.