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Athletes and Fans Take to Twitter to Complain About Sochi’s Failures, Safety Concerns and Elevators

Long before the hashtags #SochiFail and #SochiProblems turned into the latest twitter trend, the Russian Olympics were already off to a rough start. During the pre-game torch relay, the iconic Olympic flame just kept going out or burning too brightly, extinguishing at least 44 times during the relay course and nearly melting the blue robed Grandfather Frost when the handheld torch unexpected exploded into a giant flame.

Then, in the days before the official start of the games, arriving media took to twitter to post about botched accommodations, dangerous yellow water, plumbing disasters, holes left in the ground and the weird twin toilets complete with matching used toilet paper bins.

Still, Sochi organizers assured the media that while last-minute preparations were still underway in the area’s hotels, the athletes were enjoying finished accommodations and the games should go on without a hitch.

That is, until the much-hyped Opening Ceremony, when a snowflake failed to morph into the last Olympic ring, a moment that commentators quickly turned into a punchline that referenced Sochi’s gay ban and abuses towards the gay community during the days leading up to the games.

“The fifth Olympic Ring claims it was afraid to ‘come out’ in front of Vladimer Putin,” Jason Hunter tweeted with a pic of the failed display.

Now, evidence is starting to emerge that even the athletes may be suffering from Sochi’s shoddy planning. On Saturday, a US bobsledder had to break the door down to his shower in the Olympic village after he was trapped, which he quickly tweeted to his fans. Then, when a British bobsledder called for an elevator, the doors opened on an open elevator shaft instead.

“Wowzers! @paulawalkerGB nearly didn’t have her brakewomen after walking out into this!,” Rebekah Wilson tweeted after nearly falling into the open shaft.

After several injuries during practice runs and a shut down ski slope, many in the twitterverse are also hoping the venues and the courses have been planned better to keep the athletes, who have trained all their lives for a shot of Olympic glory safe.

“I wish I could watch the Olympics without holding my breath about athlete safety,” one fan wrote on twitter, echoing the sentiments of those concerned by Sochi’s planning so far.

Update: The US bobsledder who broke door the door this weekend, now tweeted about getting stuck in an elevator, Johnny Quinn, a former NFL athlete and perhaps one of the unluckiest on the US team tweeted yesterday, “No one is going to believe this, but we just got stuck in an elevator.”


About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.