Sochi Olympics

Sochi plumbing (Daily Mail)

We asked back in December whether the Sochi Winter Olympics, which formally begin Friday, were heading for disaster, what with terrorist threats, an uncooperative climate, cost overruns and corruption on a scale imaginable only in Russia.

So far, the first two of these haven't really affected the venue, but it's early. The impacts of the latter two factors, however, are being documented in hilarious fashion by a media corps that arrived early for the Games to find the town utterly unprepared.

Russian President Vladimir Putin planned these Games -- by far the most expensive Winter Games in history -- to be a showpiece for his regime. It's doubtful he was counting on coverage such as this gallery of horrors from the Daily Mail. Expect lots more coverage like it.

A couple of notes about some of the featured scenes: First, the illustration of what not to do with, or in, your hotel toilet -- if genuine -- surely is destined to be the most sought-after Sochi souvenir. Second, the Russian caption under the photo of a certain bathroom (you'll know it when you see it) reads, loosely: "Another toilet in Sochi. Now with seats for the jury." 

For a more serious take, published last May as a chronicle of corruption and a forecast of what was to come, don't miss this article by a couple of Putin's devoted critics.

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