Sochi: Hotel Horrors Haunt Olympic Journalists
The newsmakers out covering the 2014 Winter Olympics are becoming the stories themselves as they share terrible tales of blocked toilets, broken doors and toxic water supplies.
Despite billions of dollars having been poured into the Olympic Village and infrastructure of Sochi, the conditions for visiting journalists are rustic to the extreme.
The 2014 Winter Olympics don't even officially begin until Friday, with the opening ceremony airing tape delayed on NBC at 7.30 p.m. EST, but the games are already starting off on a sour note.
With light bulbs, WiFi, door handles -- and even the doors themselves -- noticeably absent from many hotels housing the media, members of the press are sharing their horror stories on Twitter.
An estimated $51 billion was invested into turning the "Russian Riviera" from a summer resort into a winter destination, but construction was repeatedly hampered by heavy rain, leaving sodden building sites and resulting in only six of the nine media hotels being fully operational.
Here are some of the best -- or worst -- reports from ground zero in Sochi detailing the challenging conditions amid the chaos.
Dan Wetzel, from Yahoo! Sports, is willing to barter three light bulbs for a door handle, and may even throw in a stray dog if you're lucky.
To anyone in Sochi: I am now in possession of three light bulbs. Will trade for a door handle. This offer is real: pic.twitter.com/7AeesqDi8Y— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) February 4, 2014
Chicago Tribune reporter Stacy St. Clair's tweet has already gone viral, and not simply because she was scared she might get poisoned by the water.
My hotel has no water. If restored, the front desk says, "do not use on your face because it contains something very dangerous." #Sochi2014— Stacy St. Clair (@StacyStClair) February 4, 2014
ESPN.com's Bonnie D. Ford was surprised to come back to her "baracks" and find the door wide open (but at least she had a door).
Harry Reekie, for CNN, booked their media rooms "five months ago" but clearly didn't specify that it had functioning blinds, and described the whole scene as, in "shambles."
Shaun Walker, from the Guardian, was awakened at 6 a.m. with an emergency alert at his hotel, and while the terrifying alert turned out to be a false alarm, he was quickly reminded how atrocious his accommodations are.
No emergency situation in the end, except the obvious & continuing one of how shit this hotel is! Waited in cold for 15min then back to bed— Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) February 5, 2014
Got back to hotel. Lift broken after half day in use. Trekked up stairs. Door to my floor (that'd be the fire door) locked. Utter farce.— Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) February 4, 2014
Washington Post writer Liz Clarke mocked the Sochi motto.
Official motto of #Sochi2014 is "Hot. Cool. Yours." After 2 days, I vote for "Not. Working. Yet." So much here is half-built or out-of-order— Liz Clarke (@lizclarketweet) February 4, 2014
Meanwhile, sports columnist Bruce Arthur's dinner menu item really says it all.