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Russia’s Sochi to host the 2014 Winter Olympics

Sochi logoCongratulations to Sochi which was awarded the 2014 Winter Olympics after a nailbiting vote last night.

Sochi secured 51 votes at a meeting of International Olympic Committee (IOC) delegates in Guatemala, beating its South Korean rival by just four votes.

As well as the facilities on offer, Vladimir Putin’s contribution was thought by many to be vital to the victory, after addressing the Olympic delegates in three languages – English, French and Spanish. According to the BBC:

It is believed to be the first time the Russian leader has been heard speaking English at a public ceremony.

I suspect that the people of Sochi are especially pleased by their victory. As well as all the business possibilities opened up by their victory, the mayor of Sochi has declared today a public holiday!

You can visit the official website of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, or the unofficial Sochi Winter Olympics Blog to discover more. At the moment, I’d recommend visiting the blog, as the official site seems to have collapsed under the strain.


  • As I said at the recently re-launched:

    Russia’s winter sports programs will no doubt be enhanced with this great news.

    Congrats. on the restart of this blog and congrats. to Mother Russia on a well deserved Olympic bid victory.

    Russia’s winter sports programs will no doubt be enhanced with this great news.

  • Isn’t it great that in a country dying under chronic easily treatable diseases, aids, tuberculosis, infrastructure that’s falling apart, a demographic crisis. The solution is to hold wildly expensive Olympics in a place which has never seen anywhere near the kind of facilities and amounts of money that are needed? Developing a resort town into a mecca for the western tourist and well off Russian shouldn’t be the top priority of the whole Russian government and huge corporations, but it is.

  • I probably agree with Rurrik on this, but Russians are free to boot out any government they feel is getting their priorities wrong, and most the Russians I know are delighted by the win.

    So congratulations are in order for the town of Sochi. Now, is there any chance we can give London’s summer games to Moscow?

  • Rurrik:

    Russia’s economy is growing and as you note the health of Russia’s citizenry has many negatives.

    These two factors are plusses for hosting the Winter Olympics. Making Sochi more attractive is a plus as well.

    Ideally, the promotion of sports promotes greater physical activity among the masses.

    You’ve a point about the large sums of monety allocated for hosting an Olympiad. That point point doesn’t exclusively to Russia.

  • I think Rurik’s general point could be stated about nearly any government that hosts the Olympics – they should have better priorities. Although, some specific points don’t make much sense: 1) the investment in infrastructure should actually see a boost due to the Olympics. 2) Much of the demographic crisis is caused by the populations’ low expectations of the future. Expectations can be improved by hosting a major international event like the Olympics.

    Most countries and cities are not perfect and should have better priorities than hosting the Olympics, but sometimes a country and its population just need to have a good time and show off a bit. Granted there is much work to be completed to ensure Sochi is ready, but I think today we should all wish Russia the best and a congratulations.

  • The overall good for a society can’t always be measured on pure monetary terms.

    Public recreational facilities aren’t created for the purpose of making a profit. People don’t pay money for gym memberships for a financial return. These references relate to improving the health of the society at large.

    The development of Sochi via the 2014 Olympics makes perfect sense.

  • Actually, I can’t think of a better way of measuring how well off a society is than monetary terms. After all, it measures how much stuff people have, and how many services they can afford to buy.

    everything else is smoke and mirrors. countries with high gdp tend to be countries that are more pleasant to live in for most people most of the time.

    Frankly, i think russia needs the olympics about as much as it needs alaska.

    It’s neat, and probably makes people feel a bit better, but all that money could be put to better usage, i agree.

  • Alaska is rich in resources and has a bit of a tourist industry of its own. Not that Russia has any valid claim to Alaska.

    For reasons previously expressed at this thread, it’s good for Russia that it won the 2014 Winter Olymopics bid. I suspect that polls will confirm most Russians being in agreement.

  • Sochi won’t do a damn thing for the health of the population at large. It’s great national ego boosting (and god knows, Russia needs it), and it’s going to be a lot of fun, but it will at best break even.

    The Sochi games are about as useful for Russia as having the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, or Velki Usytuk… I like both of the latter, but I would never venture to even suggest they are useful.

  • Alaska has yet to bring profits to America… I think this was one of the most brilliant con-jobs Russia ever pulled on the US of A… they actually had to bribe people to buy the place, because people were clever enough back then to realize that it’s economically a loss.

    Check out the amount of GPD the place generates, and compare that to the subsidies it receives.:)

    The place is useless for human settlement in general… unless you stop subsidizing the people who live there and simply focus on digging out the goodies, it will remain a loss operation….

  • RM

    I’m not so sure of your Alaska claim and you’re grossly under-representing the enhanced tourism and better health which will come with the 2014 Winter Olympics.

    Regarding your church comment, are you also negative on the building of mosques, temples and other houses of worship in Russia? Houses of worship, tourist spots and rec. facilities positively help many in a given society. It gets back to the earlier point of why some people spend money on gym memberships. In the long run, the better maintenance of one’s health saves money.

    Sports at a major level can and has benefitted greater mass participation at recretaional/athletic activties. For sure, there’s the couch potato viewer/non-participant aspect as well.

    On a related note, an American journalist in Moscow recently wrote about how he was initially annoyed with Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov because his back yard space now has an ice near its view. He has since changed his mind in lieu of his daughter taking up figure skating.

  • I am all for the Olympics Sochi, but claiming the Olympics will bring health to the average Russian is a little far fetched. Does watching Monday Night Football improve Americans’ health? Stadiums and ski slopes in Sochi are nice and I will certainly enjoy them, but the greater portion of the Russian population will not receive any more health benefit than a little extra pride.

    There are several other ways to value a society than simply monetarily. The US consistently lags in quality of life surveys compared to Europe, but the US has a great per capita GDP.

    Also, I started to call BS on the claims about Alaska and its subsidies before checking the numbers because of the quantity of oil Alaska exports to the rest of America, but the numbers seem to back you. The NPV of the original purchase is too big of a claim to even tackle in five minutes.

  • Your earnest research and acknowledgement appreciated. Much better than what db attempts.

    There was also the Alaska Gold Rush. America did well in that transaction. Especially given Alaska’s strategic importance in terms of location.

    American football is a guy thing. Olympc sports have a greater appeal. After the 2014 Olympics, those facilities in Sochi will be in place for use by (at least hopefully) the masses.

  • I am all for the Olympics Sochi, but claiming the Olympics will bring health to the average Russian is a little far fetched.

    I agree. Russians generally get a lot of exercise, as they must inevitably walk all over the place, and half the apartment blocks don’t have lifts. Overweight Russians are a sight, but not a common one. Russians’ poor health is far more of a factor of appalling diet, excessive drinking, and universal chain smoking.

    I predict two things:

    1) The health of Russians will not improve in any statistically noticeable manner following the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

    2) The facilities, much like the new ones being constructed in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk right now, will be the preserve of the wealthy Russians and the masses will not go anywhere near them, either because they don’t want to or cannot afford to.

  • When calculating whether the Alaska purchase was of net benefit to the United States, we should also consider the benefits to the US of not having a large territorial chunk of the Russian Empire / Soviet Union firmly entrenched on the North American continent.

    Imagine how the Cold War would have played out if there had been a million or more Soviet soldiers on the Canadian border…

  • In point of fact, others have used the Olympics for propaganda reasons. I’ll never forget the loud ovation Romania received (second only to what the US one received) when its delegation marched into the LA Colliseum at the opening ceremony of the 1984 Summer Olympics. At the time, Romania was easily the most Stalinist of Warsaw Pact nations. A point overlooked, if not known by many Americans. During the Cold War, there was plenty of BS about goody two shoes “free world” athletes going against evil state funded Commies. Some of those free world athletes were brats and the collegiate US athletic scholarship programs are essentially training centers for America’s best athletes.

    I predict that Sochi’s tourism and Russia’s Winter Olympic prowess will be enhanced with the 2014 bid. The overall health of Russia’s population will not be hurt by having it.

    Since the financial debacle of the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics, other Olympiads have fared better in cutting monetary losses.

  • For clarification sake, the Romania reference in my last post relates to how that country was the only Warsaw Pact nation to have competed at the LA Games. Along with some other nations, the other Warsaw Pact nations boycotted LA as payback for the boycott of the Carter administration led 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics boycott. The official reason for the LA boycott had to do with the stated concern of LA’s air pollution and security concerns. Reasons that were just as phony as the 1980 boycott. No one boycotted the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.

  • I predict that Sochi’s tourism and Russia’s Winter Olympic prowess will be enhanced with the 2014 bid.

    Good points. In turn, I predict a greater number of bookings in Sochi’s hotels and revenues in Sochi’s bars will increase as a result of them hosting the games.

    The overall health of Russia’s population will not be hurt by having it.

    Another good point. On a similar note, the overall health of Russia’s population will not be hurt by the Sakhalin II LNG/OET project commissioning the jetty, utility area, and cryogenic tanks this week either.

  • The bottom line being that Sochi getting the 2014 Winter Olympics is a plus for Russia. Those tending to have a not so friendly view of Russia generally think differently, with the reverse being true of those having a view more in sync with the mainstream Russia view at large.

  • Mike,

    I oppose all religion, and spending money on religion. I oppose public works in general as well. I’m pretty radical free-enterprise-no-subsidies-for-anybody kind of person.

    So, there you go. if somebody with private money wants to build a solid gold copy of the St. Peters cathedral, so be it. but not gov money.

  • mike: how much are you willing to bet that financially, the Sochi operation is NOT going to be a net loss for the federal government?

  • Russophile: thanks for the data. very useful.

    re goldrush: sure, but there was no gov money involved, and people didn’t settle for long.

  • RM:

    I don’t frequent houses of worship very often myself.

    Like it or not, they’ve a clear place in many societies as do rec. facilities. The society at large needs releases.

    I want teens and pre-teens to engage in organized, well rounded activities, as opposed to hanging out in the streets; with no one caring about their having nothing better to do.

    I very much believe in the Greco-Roman ideals of a well rounded person.

    I’ll once again reference what motivates some people into purchasing gym memberships.

  • Dear Michael,

    In my piece on Sochi 2014, I mention three Olympic Games that I associate with political propaganda: Berlin 1936, Moscow 1980, and Los Angeles 1984. That I do not address the US athletic programmes is because the piece – as indeed my blog – is not about the US.

    As for Romania, I totally agree with you. In retrospect, the whole affair is tragi-comic. My own country – Sweden – was no better than others in believing in the benefits of this relatively independent WP-country. Only years before Ceaucescu was overthrown, he was awarded Sweden’s most prestigious order.



  • Dear Vilhelm:

    Fair enough.

    I’ll check your blog which I periodically read.

    I believe that going to Moscow would’ve been a better propaganda bonanza for the Carter Administration.

    For example, the opening ceremony of the 1980 Olympics saw some countries walking into the stadium with either a black ribbon on their flag pole or presenting other flags like their respective national Olympic federation flag or the Olympic flag. The latter two scenarios had instances of a black ribbon on the flag pole.

    I know that what follows is easier said than done: in general I believe it’s best to keep politics out of sports as much as possible.

    In any event, post-Soviet Russia isn’t Nazi Germany or the USSR. I don’t envisage Russia becoming less free over the long haul.

    Your reply is appreciated.



  • I believe I have just become Russian (In Norway).
    I spent two years in the U.S.A. from 1982 till 1984!! That was during the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. I was in Denver. In Denver the Olympiad passed practically unnoticed!!!!
    I believe Pentagon killed John F. Kennedy for the following reason: “The President couldn’t know how many nuclear arms the Soviet Union had”!!
    The U.S.A. was the first to build up 10000 nuclear arms!!
    The U.S.A. invented the neutron bomb!!
    The U.S.A. invented the H-bomb!!
    The U.S.A. invented the fision bomb!!
    Sincerely Yours
    Einar Jan Blikeng, 20 05 60 27328
    Johannes Minsaas vei 1H,
    N-7053 Ranheim, Trondheim kommune
    Norway, Northern Europe

    Einar Jan Blikeng, 20 05 60 27328
    Johannes Minsaas vei 1H,
    N-7053 Ranheim, Trondheim Kommune
    Norway, Northern Europe
    I have been tortured!!

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