#SochiProblems: The Many Olympic PR Issues of the 2014 Winter Games

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, began on February 7, 2014, with a memorable opening ceremony of Russian culture and history – as well as a mishap when only 4 out of 5 giant snowflakes electronically morphed into Olympic rings. Some would say that this electronic malfunction would prove to only be the beginning of many problems experienced during the Sochi Olympics. However, controversies surrounded the Winter Games months before the opening ceremony.
The Sochi Winter Olympics cost more than the sum of all previous Winter Olympics – a total of over fifty billion dollars, much of which was embezzled or mismanaged. But was this price really worth it for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin? I don’t believe so, particularly because, generally, news reports surrounding the games have not involved the actual sports. Rather, they have discussed Russia’s issues with human rights, anti-gay propaganda laws, and extreme Islamist terrorist groups. As well, Sochi’s contracted killings of hundreds of stray dogs have sparked an outrage with organizations like the Humane Society.
Apart from sociopolitical controversies, Russia has dealt with backlash from athletes, reporters, and visitors who are experiencing less than ideal conditions in Sochi. Reports have flourished from unhappy tourists complaining about uncovered potholes on walkways, contaminated water, unsanitary bathrooms with toilets placed directly next to each other, and unfinished hotel rooms that lack light bulbs, chairs, and even doorknobs. From these issues has arisen the infamous Twitter account, @SochiProblems. Equipped with the hashtag “SochiProblems,” tourists staying in Sochi are live-tweeting posts and pictures depicting the problems they are encountering.
These are just some of the many examples of Sochi’s poor planning in preparation for the Winter Olympics. So what have they done to fix the situation? They’ve made it much worse.
Instead of apologizing for the abhorrent lack of planning and the many head-scratching procedures taken to fix Sochi’s issues, Russian President Putin blamed Western civilization for its criticism and compared the criticism to that of the Cold War’s ambitions to hold back the Soviet Union. Additionally, on the same day that Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak asked gay visitors, “Please don’t touch the kids,” he also let it slip that there were cameras in hotel room showers.
PR people know that to fix a crisis, you don’t point fingers. Putin should’ve owned up to his (many) mistakes, and accepted that they were trying to fix them the best way they could. With Kozak, well, he could really use Olivia Pope right about now.
This guest blog post was written by PRowl Staff Member Tyler Cameron.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close