Russia has spent a reported $50 billion to host the Winter Olympic Games, but field reporters aren’t necessarily reaping the benefits. As journalists checked into their hotels this week, they were met with some unpleasant and embarrassing surprises.
Some Sochi hotels are without lobbies. Others are without flooring. Elevators are broken, doors and locks are malfunctioning. Not all rooms are available and, when media does check into a room, it’s far from finished. Many rooms are without heat, running water, fully functioning toilets, and working Internet access (a necessity, not a luxury for reporters).
The decoration is also far from perfect—curtains are improperly hung, furniture is missing or broken. But those aren’t even the most shocking details. There are now reports that the Russian Deputy Prime Minister has been caught on tape indicating that Sochi hotel rooms (and showers) are under video surveillance.
Twitter even has #Sochiproblems dedicated to the situation. There’s a lot of noise being tweeted, so follow these journalists on Twitter to see the full Sochi odyssey.
1.Kevin Bishop, @bishopk, Acting Bureau Chief for the BBC Moscow
Bishop charts the progress and set-backs of his own Sochi hotel, which is missing one floor, but has a prominent portrait of Putin. More than just hotel complaints, Bishop’s feed has insight into Sochi costs, security, and other Olympic controversies.
2. Bruce Arthur @bruce_arthur, National Post Sports Columnist
Arthur was the first to comment on Sochi’s interesting gardening techniques of painting the grass. Also, follow this account for astute, often humorous ,commentary, as well as great photos, including ones of Sochi puppies.
3. Stacy St. Clair, @StacyStClair, Chicago Tribune Reporter
Made famous for the water tweet, Stacy St. Clair is working to prove that Sochi has more than just questionable water quality. Follow her account for on the ground reports from Sochi and lots of sports.
4. Wayne Drehs, @espnWD, ESPN Feature Writer
Drehs has had the worst of the Sochi plumbing problems. He arrived at 2 am to find his bathroom still under construction. It looks like the finished product was far from perfect. His Twitter feed has a good look at the complete Sochi experience, including breath-taking views, charming stray dogs, and questionable email security.
5. Harry Reekie, @HarryCNN, CNN Sports Producer
In addition to Sochi construction, Reekie’s account is a great live feed of what it’s like to work the Olympics. Follow the feed for a behind-the-scenes look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of the journalist’s experience.
6. SochiProblems (@SochiProblems)
Not a journalist per se, but, if you want to follow one account to see what’s really going wrong, it’s this one. This account aggregates and shares some of the worst fumbles of Sochi hospitality.
By Lily. J. Kosner for PeterGreenberg.com