The 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi Russia with the Opening Ceremonies scheduled to kick off February 7, 2014. Russia beat out Austria and South Korea to be the Winter Olympics 22nd host. When they placed their bid with the international Olympic Committee in 2007, Russia proposed to spend $12 Billion dollars. This proposed budget has since been abandoned for a new seven year plan to turn Sochi into a "mountain resort." According to The Economist.com,"most of the money is coming from the public purse or from state-owned banks."
This makes sense. I mean, why not pass the cost on to a people who are struggling economically and a banking system that couldn't possibly fail, right?
Currently, the 2014 Olympics have already cost over 50 billions dollars, that's 1,645,500,000,000 rubles. Overruns for the Olympics are not uncommon. In fact, Allison Stewart, of the SAID Business School at Oxford, says that Olympics tend to have cost overruns of about 180% on average. This particular overrun however is now at 500% and counting. Most of which is blamed on corruption. Russian statesman, and Vladimir Putin critic, Boris Nemtsov claims, "The Sochi Olympics are an unprecedented thieves’ caper in which representatives of Putin’s government are mixed up along with the oligarchs close to the government."
Now I know what you're saying. "Kevin, the Olympics are meant to build 'Good Will' between ALL nations. Sure there may be SOME corruption, but can you put a price tag on the demonstration of human excellence?" Yes. Apparently a trillion and a half rubles.
In June, Russia passed a law that bans "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations," simply put, it makes it illegal to support gay rights in public. This is not shocking. Anti-gay sentiment runs high in Russia. Homosexuality was illegal during the Soviet Union and has only been decriminalized since 1993. Until 1999, a Russia law sent homosexuals to psychiatric wards. Russia's sports minister Vitaly Mutko stated athletes and spectators attending the Olympics will face fines, arrest and deportation if they violate the country's so-called gay "propaganda" law.
However, it seems Russia is doing an "about face" with regards to these sentiments. On Friday, Igor Ananskikh, deputy chairman of the State Duma's Physical Culture, Sport and Youth Policy Committee said, "The Olympic Games is a major international event. We need to be as polite and tolerant as possible. That is why a decision has been made not to raise this issue during the Olympics." And even before that, Russia held an election for its 2014 Olympic Mascots...and they're pretty fucking gay!
1. Santa Claus.
OK, not a gay icon per se, more of a Bi Icon (Bi-con *TM - I trademarked this fuckers) He's into boys AND girls. He seems obsessed with the "north pole," but that can be said about most men.
2. A Bear.
Really? You know what a bear is, right? This little dude is just missing a leather vest to complete the stereotype.
3. A Little Boy and Girl.
That could be neutral, right? His name is Fire Boy and he's described as having "sparks in his wide eyes and hair that looks just like flame." So he's a "flamer." Her name is "Snow Girl," no word on whether she "snow balls" or not.
4. Polar Bear.
OK. That's fine. Nothing gay about that. Scarf? Pretty questionable accessory. Possibly a big Doctor Who fan, which my older brother says is gay.
5. Snow Leopard.
Nice physique. He must go to the gym. The scales are starting to tip in the "non straight" direction. "He is a cheerful character who enjoys the company of others and loves to go dancing." I swear to God this is the description they gave him!
6. Bull Finch.
A bird. When you talk to your kids about the birds and the bees with modern interpretation, homosexuality is bound to come up.
Look at those gorgeous eyelashes. Either he's gay or I am...I'm going with HIM!
8. Little Sun.
This is the younger sister of the sun. I'm not saying her design is meant to make her look like Ellen DeGeneres, but it helps my argument and I'll be damned if I'll be derailed at #8!
You know, those wooden dolls that are placed one inside the other. Ummmm...yeah.