These might already be the strangest Winter Olympics and they haven’t actually started. Just think how crazy things will get when a bobsled controversy erupts.
The selection of Sochi started the strangeness as no one understood how a small resort area could land the Games, though everyone simply assumed it had to do with bribes, vodka and blackmail. In the weeks leading up to the Olympics stories emerged about how ill-prepared Sochi and Russia were for the influx of athletes, fans and media. And now that those fans, media and athletes have actually arrived, all of the worst-case scenarios appear to be coming true. Journalists have already written about hotels that don’t have running water, venues covered in tarps and roving bands of stray dogs that are looking to feed off humans.
And hanging over everything is the fear of terrorism. Various groups have vowed to strike and many families of athletes chose to stay home. With a sense of dread, I can already picture the breaking news banner on CNN or NBC announcing that something terrible has happened, followed by explanations about black widows and civil war. The best-case scenario is people get affected by various housing or transportation fiascoes. The worst case is almost too difficult to think about, though our imaginations can do just that. Still…people will watch. I’ll watch. I remain a sucker for the Olympics, a wide-eyed sucker who is fully aware of the horrific corruption in the IOC and the host countries and the drugs and the jingoism and everything else.