Sochi, site of the Winter Olympic Games, has all the markings of being a total disaster. Like Ishtar, but with a bigger body count. Though the Games have not yet begun, reporters from around the globe are beginning to descend on the so-called resort town. What has greeted them is nothing more than poorly produced modern-day relics of the Potemkin Village known as Russia.
Chicago Tribune reporter Stacy St. Clair exposed the problem, and the comic relief. First, a photo of two glasses of yellow-ish/rust-ish third world "water." With the photo, a tweet from St. Clair stating:
My hotel has no water. If restored, the front desk says, "do not use on your face because it contains something very dangerous." #Sochi2014 more >>
As the Winter Olympic Games get underway in Sochi, Russia, the International Olympic Committee has begun its usual practice of dispersing 100,000 condoms to competitors staying in Olympic Village.
A representative for the International Olympic Committee confirmed to TMZ that its group would be distributing 100,000 condoms to the 2,800 athletes staying in Olympic Village over a period of 16 days. "The distribution of condoms in the village is part of the IOC's involvement in the HIV and AIDS prevention," an unnamed representative for the IOC told TMZ.
Organizers for this year's winter games have dispersed the nearly 3,000 competitors from 88 countries into three housing areas that make up Olympic Village. The IOC's distribution of condoms is not unfamiliar to the Olympic Games. At the 2012 London Olympic Games, women's soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo told ESPN that "there's a lot of sex going on" at the games, adding that some players have sex "right out in the open" at Olympic Village, including "on the grass, between buildings, people are getting down and dirty." The IOC distributed 150,000 condoms at the 2012 Olympics. more >>
Three deadly bombings have rocked two of Russia's southern cities in the past four days, killing at least 34 people just six weeks before the country plans to host the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
A suicide bomber detonated an explosive device containing shrapnel on a public bus Monday morning in the southern city of Volgograd, killing at least 14 people and injuring over 30. This attack, which investigators are describing as a "terrorist act," comes one day after another suicide bomber detonated an explosive device at Volgograd's railway station, killing at least 17. Additionally, on Friday a car bomb killed three people in the southern Russian city of Pyatigorsk, 170 miles east of Sochi.
No group has taken responsibility for the two most recent attacks in Volgograd, but Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the investigators covering the attacks, told media outlets that the shrapnel used in the two most recent explosive devices was "identical." more >>
Brian Boitano, a former Olympic gold medalist figure skater and a current member of the U.S. delegation heading to Sochi, Russia, for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, announced Thursday that he is gay.
"I am many things: a son, a brother, and uncle, a friend, an athlete, a cook, an author, and being gay is just one part of who I am," Boitano said in a statement. The professional figure skater competed in the 1988 Olympic Games, where he won the figure skating Gold Medal.
"First and foremost I am an American athlete and I am proud to live in a country that encourages diversity, openness and tolerance. As an athlete, I hope we can remain focused on the Olympic spirit which celebrates achievement in sport by peoples of all nations." Boitano also became the World Champion in figure skating in 1986 and 1988, and the U.S. National Champion from 1985 to 1988. more >>
The White House announced Tuesday that two of its delegation members for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia will be openly gay athletes. Many media outlets are stipulating that this was done intentionally as a message to Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin, regarding the country's ban against "homosexual propaganda for minors."
The two openly gay athletes who will be representing the U.S. include Tennis great Billie Jean King, a 39-time Grand Slam title winner and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and hockey player Caitlin Cahow, who won a bronze medal at the 2006 Winter Games and a silver medal at the 2010 Winter Games. Cahow will attend the games' closing ceremony.
Other members of the opening ceremony delegation include Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Ambassador Michael McFaul, White House deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors, and Former Olympic gold medalist figure skater Brian Boitano. American representatives at the closing ceremony will include Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, McFaul, and Olympic speedskaters Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden, both of whom have won five Olympic gold medals each. more >>
Television personality and real estate mogul Donald Trump said in a recent interview that his views on gay marriage are evolving as society's opinion on the issue continues to change, but the business magnate was quick to note that he continues to support the traditional definition of marriage.
"I think really what you have is a very changing stance, and you see it changing very rapidly. If you go back 10 years ago it's very different [...] I think I'm evolving, and I think I'm a very fair person, but I have been for traditional marriage. I am for traditional marriage, I am for a marriage between a man and a woman," Trump told MSNBC's Thomas Roberts this past weekend while the two were in Moscow, Russia for the Miss Universe pageant. Trump and NBC co-own the Miss Universe pageant, and Roberts served as a host for the competition alongside R&B artist Mel B.
Roberts also asked Trump what he thought of the controversy over having the Miss Universe pageant in Russia after the country recently passed a ban on spreading "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors." The country has also received criticism from athletes planning on participating in the Winter Olympic Games this upcoming February over the ban, passed in June. more >>