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What are Conditions Really Like at Sochi?

Roberto Carcelen being introduced at Sochi, it's nice to hear the Peruvian national anthem being played. I also enjoy how a person near the camera is compelled to sing along. 

Anybody who has been on the internet at all over the last few days has been inundated with stories about the "deplorable" conditions at Sochi.  I've read articles such as this one which claim the hotels are in a state of disorder.  I also found this article which says that computers are being hacked.

My initial reaction to this was disappointment and compassion (just like it is for everyone else), but once I started thinking about it, I thought these stories might be unfair.  After all, some of the "issues" sited in the "poor hotel" article referenced above were that there were no batteries in the remote control.  Really?  You're super upset about that?  The reports I read said that the Olympic village was fine, it was just some of the hotels housing members of the media that were "unfinished," and it occurred to me that perhaps these hotels were housing "soft" journalists who complained about everything.  Then I started to get annoyed, because I'd like to go to Sochi too, and if I went there I would be taking pictures of athletes and enjoying the experience rather than complaining about the hotel.

Well, I expressed this opinion on a couple Facebook threads, and I was surprised to get a semi negative response (from a couple of them, other people said, "EXACTLY!").  So, I decided to be fair.  I actually have a couple friends who are competing at Sochi, so I wrote them emails asking them to tell me about the conditions.  They responded right away.

What I learned is that there is really only one thing of real concern at Sochi: Terrorism.  

Here is the email conversation I had with Roberto Carcelen (Athlete from Peru) and Andy Liebner (Roberto's Coach).

Hey Roberto and Andy, We're getting a lot of news reports here in the states that the lodgings are inadequate, and people are getting their computers hacked. Has that been your experience? 

Andy Liebner:
I haven't heard anything about any computer hacking. We did stay our first night in the town Adler outside of the Olympic Village and they were about like a hostel at best. Everything is extremely high security around the Olympic venues as well as to and from each site. Police are mostly within eyesight of each other. 

Roberto Carcelen:
All good here Ben, I haven't heard anything other than international Media comments. 

So far life in the Olympic Village is safe however, I had couple interviews this afternoon in town and I have to say, just standing around in public places doesn't feel secure anything could happen and fast. 

Thanks guys! I hope you stay safe and comfortable!

End of Communication

It's always rather amusing/frustrating to follow up on reports out of the US Media.  It starts to make you wonder if there's any accurate reporting anywhere!  If anyone else has further information, please send it to me at  I'd be happy to post your photos and your take on the matter.

Stay safe athletes!

1 comment:

  1. If it's coming from the US media you can almost be guaranteed that it's either outright false or highly embellished, they have one goal - make Russia look bad. I'll let everyone discover why on their own