Don’t think fiasco! Think Putin!

Russia's Czar appears to have staked his reputation — nay, his very manliness — on these games.

Carolyn Grant

The Winter Olympics begin Friday, my favourite Olympics. I much prefer the winter sports to the summer, and not just because Canadians tend to be better medal-wise, and my favourite sport — curling — is featured.

I have just always thought the Winter Olympics were a kinder, friendlier Olympics, perhaps more indicative of the Olympic spirit than the heavily-commercialized Summer Games.

Yes, you have the hockey pros and the glamorous figure skaters who exist in rarified air, but then you have the athletes who toil in obscurity most of the time. Your lugers and your bobsled teams and, yes, your curlers (they may be household names in Canada, but nowhere else) who are simply thrilled to be at the Games. The Winter Games just seem nicer.

And then they awarded the Winter Games to Russia.

Kinder and gentler are not two words you think of in anything related to Vladimir Putin, who appears to have staked his reputation — nay, his very manliness — on these games. He has also staked $50 billion. $50 billion! That’s what the Sochi Games have cost. To put it in perspective, the Vancouver Games cost $7 billion and we weren’t happy with that.

But apparently $50 billion doesn’t really buy you much in Russia.

Stories of corruption and pay offs running wild in Sochi are legion.

The world’s journalists are descending on Sochi this week and #Sochiproblems is trending on Twitter.

Journalists are tweeting pictures of yellow water and complaining of no water.

“My hotel has no water,” tweeted a Chicago Tribune journalist. “If restored, the front desk says, ‘Do not use on your face because it contains something very dangerous.”

Oh, that’s reassuring.

Some journalists found this advice in their bathrooms: “Please do not flush toilet paper down the toilet! Put it in the bin provided.”

In Russia, $50 billion can’t buy you a properly flushing toilet. It can, however, buy you a nice sign with instructions on toilet use, including “No fishing.” That Putin is such a stickler for propriety. If you can’t toilet fish, what are you supposed to do with your spare time?

And some bathrooms have two toilets (???). And also no shower curtains.

Another tweeted that he lost his hotel key and the hotel didn’t have a replacement key, so they removed his door.

Reports say six of the nine hotels slated for journalists are not finished. Much landscaping needs to be done on the grounds as well.

There are also reports that the millionaire NHL stars will be expected to sleep three to a room on beds slightly higher-quality than cots. I’m guessing the Russian national hockey team will have slightly better accommodations.

In short, there are some very, very big problems to solve in the next 24 hours or so.

But Putin doesn’t want the world focusing on the negative. He wants you to focus on the positive, namely himself.

We all know Putin sees himself as hero material. He is constantly showing the world pictures of himself performing daring deeds of macho accomplishment — from hang gliding to hunting to playing hockey. That’s the image he wants the world to have of him, the master of all he surveys. Tsar of land where men are men and women are women — which is causing problems of another sort for these Games. Putin’s anti-gay stand is less than popular with almost all the countries sending athletes to these Games.

A joke making the rounds is that the motto of these Games is “Faster, Higher, Straighter.”

That’s the real problem for Putin — jokes. If there is one thing he doesn’t want to be, could not bear to be, it’s being the butt of a joke.

And when the lead in to your Games — the Games you are stamping with your name — is any number of jokes about poor quality accommodations, corruption and what appears to be complete mismanagement of a giant project, that’s a problem. A Putin-sized problem.

Even if Putin leads in the Russian athletes, shirtless, astride a white steed, I don’t think #Putinistheman is going to be trending on Twitter.

Carolyn Grant is Editor of the Kimberley Daily Bulletin

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Cranbrook Arts has opened the doors of their  new gallery space to the public with their inaugural exhibit, Kootenay’s Best.
‘Kootenay’s Best’ opens Cranbrook Arts’ new gallery

This exhibit has been in the works for the past several months and features the work of more than 50 emerging and established artists from across the Kootenays

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read