The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia have come and gone. Perhaps more popular than the actual Olympics was the bad publicity endured by the host city.
As spectators and journalists ascended on the small town on the Black Sea, they immediately noticed every flaw in the Russian town and took to social media to voice their complaints. From yellow water to barely finished malls, the Twitter account @sochiproblems was littered with pictures of the poor conditions. The description on the Twitter handle reads, “Highlighting the problems… to bring you the solutions!,” and had over 3,000 followers as of noon on Tuesday, February 11. #sochiproblems became an overnight sensation.
Before the events even started, fear of terrorism ran rampant, and many wondered what these Olympics would have in store. There was the Russian government’s view of gays and the protests from the musical activist group Pussy Riot. Then came the opening ceremonies and the “snowflake problem.” Beautiful snowflakes were supposed to transform into the five Olympic rings but instead, a technical malfunction caused only four to appear. Stories of feral dogs inundated the newspapers, and even worse was Russia’s plan to take care of the problem by euthanasia. The Russian Olympics seemed to be living up to the expectations that many had preconceived for them.
However, despite all the negative press, the games themselves turned out much better than anyone could have expected. As the head of the Olympic Committee put it, “Russia delivered all what it had promised.” For 17 whole days, the world’s eyes were focused on the small resort town that was completely transformed into an instant household name. Russia put on the most costly Olympics in history and topped the leader board with a total of 33 medals and a record 13 gold medals. They were even able to make fun of themselves in the closing ceremonies by having a group of dancers form four Olympic rings and one clump, an homage to the glitch that took place in the opening ceremonies.
The 2014 Olympic Winter games endured round after round of bad publicity. But, with the closing ceremonies, Russia began to bid farewell to this bad press. A new face of Russia was born and they showed just how far the country had come since abolishing communism just a few short decades ago. However, with the recent uprising in Ukraine and the invasion of Russia into that country, bad press may not be too far around the corner for Russia again.