I haven’t yet been to Russia’s Black Sea coast, so I can’t offer any personal reflections on whether it’s a bad idea or a very bad idea that Russia has been chosen to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. My belief that it’s a bad idea stems from my general opposition to spending shitloads of money to build new stadiums and sport complexes ANYWHERE in this world when there are better ways to spend public funds and plenty of existing stadiums and sport complexes, not to speak of Russia, which could stand to improve teachers’, doctors’ and other public workers’ salaries, fight corruption, and generally do about a billion other things to improve the Russian people’s quality of life. The Olympics are a money-loser, not a money-maker, and while I appreciate the Olympic spirit and all, do we really have to pick a different city for each and every Games, until every city on the planet has an unused crumbling Olympic Village?
My friend Vadik, who has been to the Black Sea several times, offered another perspective last night: “If I wake up tomorrow and Sochi has been chosen I’m going to hate Putin even more. Russia is a huge country with one tiny piece of warm sea coast, where the whole country goes on holiday, and they’re going to take the last bits of untouched nature there and build elite fucking cottages.”