You know things are bad, or at least overblown onto a whole new level of trouble, when a hashtag gets its own Twitter handle. Such is the case with #SochiProblems, the hashtag that is starting to define the Sochi Winter Olympics, at least for the people who are paying more attention to social media than they are to actual Olympic news.
In the news, #SochiProblems are not getting as much attention–at least not yet–as the actual Olympic events, but it’s easy to get sidetracked by the buzz on Twitter, and right there is the problem for Sochi to overcome. #SochiProblems is leading the charge into this year’s Olympics, and there’s no sign that any positive news could derail that, at least not on Twitter.
Say what you will about Twitter, but Snark, with a capital “S”, is a defining style for a lot of tweets, and most of us are guilty of that at one time or another. Take any big event and you’re bound to get Snark, but the problem here is that #SochiProblems is actually a big deal, despite what some people have said.
Yes, the problems media are facing are not about the biggest issues in Russia. We’re talking about people who are travelling on their employer’s dime, and covering the Olympics for their jobs, but the problems are absolutely ridiculous for a country like Russia.
What we’re talking about is a country that can’t even get their act together to put on an event that they have had years to plan. This event shines a spotlight on Russia as a country that apparently can’t even keep dogs out of hotel rooms, and somehow they also can’t assemble toilets, or provide safe drinking water.
These problems make you question how most people live in Russia, and what conditions are like that anyone working there has not raised these concerns months ago. These problems are on top of the much more contemptible human rights issues, and the rampant corruption throughout the country, and that’s where you have to question why anyone would award the Olympics to a country that has this many issues.
It’s impossible to even understand how the Olympic committee decided to allow Russia to host the event in the first place, but most people may assume that it’s probably an issue of corruption as well.
While the jokes will continue for weeks–which is unfortunately how long we’ll also have to endure the Olympics too, if you’re not a sports fan–there has to be some hope that this shaming for Sochi will somehow lead to change, but right now, I won’t hold my breath. We can at least sit back and laugh at the problems that could completely overshadow what should be a celebration of international pride and sportsmanship.
I also can’t help but wonder what the opening and closing ceremonies will look like if this is any indication of how prepared Sochi is for the start of the Olympics. For that matter, I might be concerned about the well-being of our athletes if the competition facilities have even a fraction of the issues as the hotels.
Here are a few of the best of the worst #SochiProblems to give you a sense of what’s going on as the Olympics kick off tomorrow in Sochi. The hashtag will likely start filling up with fake images at any point now, if it hasn’t already, but it’s safe to say that most of these will be fairly accurate.
If you want to feel a little more positive about this year’s Olympics, try starting with just the #Sochi hashtag.
— Matt Gutman (@mattgutmanABC) February 4, 2014
— Stacy St. Clair (@StacyStClair) February 4, 2014
— Steve Rosenberg (@BBCSteveR) January 20, 2014
In my Sochi hotel. You're welcome to pop by and sit forlornly in my Chairs of Desolation. pic.twitter.com/msoqXAIcj4
— cathalkelly (@cathalkelly) February 5, 2014
— Dave Sheinin (@DaveSheinin) February 5, 2014
— Daniele Hamamdjian (@DHamamdjian) February 3, 2014
At the very least, as @PaulineGrantTO pointed out, some of us can think of one positive to take away from all of these tweets:
— Pauline Grant (@PaulineGrantTO) February 7, 2014
Photo credit: Jamie Nicholls ?@jamienichollsuk with the Canadian Olympic team.