‘Sochi Problems’ illustrate first world comforts


Jessica Jasperson, Opinion Editor

Jessica Jasperson, Opinion Editor

I can’t decide whether or not journalists airing out their #SochiProblems on Twitter pisses me off more than Kansas’ anti-gay segregation bill, but I’ll save Kansas for another opinion piece.

I’ve been mulling over Sochi and their “unbearable” living conditions since the winter Olympics began Feb. 7. I’ve heard mixed criticism from peers and fellow journalists.

Some say they think it’s awesome to see journalists calling out Russia’s inability to prepare for the games. Others say this is a literal situation of #firstworldproblems at its finest.

I understand Russia knew for 12 years the winter Olympics were going to be held there, and I understand they were given $51 billion to prepare. Perhaps the root of my disagreement doesn’t stem from journalists complaining, but from the fact that we build pop-up communities to house the Olympics.

From my understanding, six of the nine media hotels were finished being built, leaving three hotels unfinished before the storm of journalists flew into 60 degree Sochi. While people are complaining about this, I’m wondering why people are building hotels that are going to be deserted after the Olympics end. Let’s be real, who goes to Russia on vacation?

Although Sochi has gained better roads, a modern airport and better public transportation because of  Olympic funds, over 2,000 families who lived in Sochi were displaced during renovations, and a large amount of waste and pollution has been created from construction.

Two Twitter accounts, including @SochiProblem and @SochiProblemz, comprise more than 15 accounts bashing Sochi’s hotels, arenas and community conditions. Overall, I’d say the hotel bashing is the worst. Journalists are paid to watch and report on the Olympics in Sochi, yet they are complaining about room conditions.

You can’t drink the faucet water? Sorry, not sorry to hear that you don’t have a luxury millions of people in the world do not have, including some people in America. You can’t flush your toilet paper down the toilet? Sorry, not sorry to hear about your “bathroom problems.” There isn’t an elevator car in some of the elevators? Sorry, not sorry you have to use the stairs now.

Multiple news stories have covered the Instagrams and Tweets of journalists and athletes in Sochi, setting up the story as some kind of humorous depiction of what Russia wasn’t prepared for. I do not find this coverage empowering to the privileged reporters, but embarrassing for those who chose to complain.

If Sochi is going down as the most overpaid and simultaneously unprepared country to host the winter Olympics, I think the journalists who complain about the conditions should be known for being the most unappreciative.

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