Olympics: Corruption and Waste Send Sochi Spending Spiraling

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Photo courtesy of Matthew Tichenor, licensed through Flickr via Creative Commons.

Photo courtesy of Matthew Tichenor, licensed through Flickr via Creative Commons.

The 2014 Sochi Olympic games have been steeped in money from day one. Russia’s bid for the winter games included a promise to spend $12 billion on the event — a price that far exceeded proposals placed by other countries like South Korea and Austria. Estimates of the actual cost have swelled since then, and are well over $5o billion by some calculations.

That places the 2014 games as the landslide winner of Olympic costs, surpassing the 2008 Beijing price of $40 billion. Bloomberg reports that $520 million is being spent per event in Sochi, versus $132 million per event in Beijing. The 2014 games have only 98 events compared to the 302 events, which occurred in 2008.

Asked about the billion dollar ballooning at a press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin brushed the figures aside. “The overall cost of the Olympics has been announced; it is 214┬ábillion rubles,” Putin stated. “You can calculate the dollar amount by dividing this figure by 33, which is the current exchange rate.”┬áPutin’s statement of 214 billion rubles translates to roughly $6 billion.

Putin went on to explain what needed to be done in order to prepare for the Sochi games. In 2006/2007, the Russian President said, the country adopted a Sochi Development Master Plan to revitalize the area. Olympics or no Olympics, the area needed assistance. In all, Putin outlined three broad areas where money was spent, which correspond with charges of corruption, waste, and out-of-control spending that have been levied against the state.

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