Weather forecast for Winter Olympics is conspicuously missing winter
The 10-day weather forecast is now available for Sochi, Russia at weather.com, giving us the outlook for week one of the Winter Olympics. As was widely feared might be the case, winter is nowhere in sight:
It’s not like no one saw this coming: Sochi is Russia’s premiere summer resort town. It’s the country’s only subtropical city and is known mostly for its beaches. It was first developed as a summer getaway by Stalin in the 1930s.
Russian officials have hauled in 710,000 cubic meters of snow from the Caucus Mountains—they’re currently under thermal blankets. They’ve also brought in 500 snow guns to produce manmade snow, and unveiled a slogan to the IOC: “Sochi 2014: Guaranteed Snow.”
If you’re wondering how a beach town got selected for the Winter Olympics, you are not alone. Opposition leder and Sochi native Boris Nemtsov noted, “It’s hard to find a place on the map of Russia where there hasn’t been snow and where winter sports are not developed. But Putin found such a spot and decided to hold the Winter Olympics there. It’s the city of Sochi.”
Putin personally lobbied the IOC to select Sochi, and built an ice rink in Guatemala in 2007 to demonstrate Russia’s abilities.
Why? A simple reason could be that it’s been reported Putin personally loves to ski at the mountain just outside Sochi, where the Games’ skiing events will be held.
But another reason could stem from a corruption allegation Nemtsov leveled against Putin. NBC reports Nemtsov called the Olympics an “‘unprecedented thieves’ caper’ in which Russian businessmen have ‘embezzled’ $30 billion of the $50 billion budgeted for Sochi.”
The Russian press office denied the accusation of payola, telling CNBC, “Those allegations by Mr. Nemtsov are absolutely false.”
One thing is clear is that if Russia wanted to host the Olympics to show how integrated into the norms of the global community they are, they’re failing pretty hard.