What factors contributed to Sochi 2014 being over-budget?

How the Sochi Games grew so expensive is a tale of Putin-era Russia in microcosm: a story of ambition, hubris, and greed leading to fabulous extravagance on the shores of the Black Sea.

Back in 2007, when Russia was bidding to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, the huge amounts it was willing to spend were a point of pride, an enticement meant to win over officials at the International Olympic Committee. Putin traveled to Guatemala City to give a rare speech in English, with even a touch of French, to the assembled IOC delegates, promising to turn Sochi into “a world-class resort” for a “new Russia” and the rest of the world. His pledge to spend $12 billion in Sochi dwarfed the bids of the other finalists from South Korea and Austria.

But since then, as costs have increased, Russian officials have grown less eager to boast about the size of the final bill. “In the beginning, money was a reason and argument for Russia to win the right to host the Olympics,” says Igor...

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The Russians are getting pessimistic about the post-Olympic period. Citizens seriously believe that the Olympics are restraining the imminent economic decline, and once the Games are over, the budget deficit and the deterioration in the commodity markets will lead Russia to a default. Should Russia be expecting a collapse of the economy after Sochi 2014?

The Sochi Olympics kicks off next month, and the Russians are seriously concerned that after the closing ceremony Russia will face a period of economic decline and even a default. Skepticism and pessimism are obvious in blogs and forums. The closer is the Olympics, the grimmer is the attitude of many Russians.

"This has to do with huge costs that would not pay off. In addition, by 2014 we could face a negative external background for the commodity economies. The combination of these factors may create a post-Olympics collapse. Something similar has happened in the history of economics after the 1980 Olympics,"...

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Let other mayors fret about potholes, taxes and sewers. This is an Olympic city, and here’s the jeans-clad mayor striding into his office on a recent afternoon, fresh from a landslide, and not the electoral kind. When Sochi won the 2014 Games, life went epic.

First Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov and the mere mortals of Sochi were sent on a marathon of construction that clogged traffic and made heads throb. Then came the wrath of the gods: The city has had nearly 20 inches of rain in September — 2.3 inches is the average for the month — setting off landslides requiring mayoral attention. Last week, the downpour was so heavy and roads were so flooded that the Emergency Situations Ministry deployed 1,800 workers to pump out water and shovel debris off streets.

And now, the clash of civilizations.

President Vladimir Putin signed a law at the end of June prohibiting the promotion of nontraditional sexual relationships to minors. It has been interpreted as banning gay pride...

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The water in one swimming pool turned green. Apart from that, the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro went off without a hitch. Preliminary figures also indicate that the Rio Olympics 'only' cost 51% more than originally budgeted – which by Olympic standards is a great success.

But that this could be considered good news hides the bigger, uglier truth: all Olympic Games go over budget. In fact, they are the only type of mega-project in the world to do so. These graphs show the total cost of 18 Summer and Winter Olympics held between 1968 and 2016, and the cost overruns for each of those Games. That should give cities hoping to host the Olympics some pause for thought.

At first glance, the message of these two graphs seems positive: a few outliers notwithstanding – most notably London 2012 and Sochi 2014 – the cost of Olympic Games seems relatively stable; and again discounting Sochi, the worst of the cost overruns occurred before the year 2000.

But let's...

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The Volgograd suicide attacks prove that terrorism is a global threat, but Russia has everything to ensure top-level security during the Winter Olympics it’s hosting next month, the head of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko said.

“From the beginning of the construction phase, security was given paramount importance in the preparations for the Games,” Chernyshenko told RT's Paul Scott in Sochi. “And in the opinion of all international experts and the IOC [International Olympic committee], the Russian state authority is providing incredible measures and procedures to guarantee the safest and the most secure Games ever.”

Two suicide bombings left 34 people dead in the southern Russian city of Volgograd, situated only 700 kilometers from Sochi, just before the New Year.

The terrorist attacks raised doubts among some about Russia’s ability to guarantee security during the Olympics, but the head of the Organizing Committee...

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On Tuesday's Today Programme, Phones4U founder John Caudwell said: "We suffer an...

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Thursday ends excitedly in Sochi, with no major adverse incidents U.S. bans for now toothpaste tubes, liquids, gels, aerosols in carry-ons to Russia Some events get under way in Sochi, a day ahead of the official opening ceremony U.S. officials warn that explosives could be taken on to planes in toothpaste tubes

(CNN) -- Amid international concerns about security, the Sochi Games completed the first day of contests Thursday with high excitement and -- equally important -- no major adverse incident.

After all the anxiety about a terror strike, controversy over gay rights and ridicule over poor preparations, the Winter Olympics commenced smoothly enough, as qualification events were held in the men's and women's slopestyle, women's moguls and team figure skating.

The last of the athletes arrived at the Russian venue on Thursday, including the bulk of Team USA, and the Olympians will hold the Games' official opening ceremony Friday.


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As you mentioned in your question, Sochi 2014 is the most expensive games in Olympic history, surpassing Beijing 2008. This is even more incredible when you realize that the Summer Games has three times more events than the Winter Games, which means that Russia has spent almost 4 times more per event than China did in 2008.

When Russia was bidding for the Olympics, President Putin gave a speech to the International Olympic Committee promising to turn Sochi into a world-class resort. His original number of $12 Billion was much more than the other finalist nations were offering to spend. Now, however, as the games are about to begin, the total spent by Russia is being reported as $51 Billion.

Joshua Yaffa has written a fascinating article for Bloomberg Businessweek that outlines some of the reasons for the out-of-control costs in Sochi.

Among the reasons that he discusses:

Engineering problems: Sochi is in a narrow region between the Black Sea and the...

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Developing and Managing the Sochi Facilities

As athletes arrive from around the world and 3 billion people gather at their televisions, all eyes are on Sochi. While the Games reward excellence in athleticism, our focus is on the Olympic size feat of developing the Sochi venue. Though our customers may not have staged such a globally sized event, many of them can relate to the factors affecting the development of Sochi, including changes in management, deadlines, technological requirements, and budgetary fluctuations.

The Facilities

The International Olympic Committee awarded the 2014 Winter Olympics bid to Russia in July of 2007. In less than 7 years, Russia developed the Black Sea resort town of Sochi to cater to the influx of over 7,000 athletes, 25,000 volunteers, 37,000 security officers, and the tens of thousands of tourists coming to view the Games. They would not only need to build sport facilities but also provide the supporting infrastructure to...

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The Sochi Olympics end on Sunday. Another Olympic torch extinguished. Another bank vault full of gold medals awarded. On to the next town—Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Though it may be too early to sum up the Sochi effect, other than hotels-built-while-you-wait, "bars that look like dentists' offices" (in the words of a New York Times reporter), and tweeted photos of communal toilets, a postmortem of the 2012 Summer Games held in London and earlier venues can be done.

Olympi-philes may remember that when London squared off against Paris to vie for the right to host the 2012 Summer Games, the deal clincher was this: London would not merely celebrate sport. It would use the games to jump-start the renewal of East London, the historically wrong-side-of-the-tracks part of the city that by any measurement—income, unemployment, life expectancy, health—sits at the bottom of the social and economic barrel.

Touted as the "Legacy Olympics" (and at $14.8 billion, a bargain...

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By Olga Ponomarenko and Alexander Plekhanov

Sochi, a fashionable seaside city in Russia’s Krasnodar region, will be hosting the Winter Olympic Games from 7 to 23 February 2014. It is a major event in the world calendar: 60 foreign leaders are expected to be among the 40,000 spectators attending the opening ceremony.

But will it boost the economy – at the time when Russia’s growth slowed down to only 1.3 per cent last year?

Finding an answer in history is not easy. Hosting Olympic Games and other major sports events has until recently been a prerogative of advanced economies. They hosted all but four Olympics of the 20th century, the exceptions being the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo and the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

Breaking with this trend, the Olympics of the 21st century are increasingly held in emerging markets: by 2016, they will...

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It's still several weeks before the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and the Games have already had a host of troubles. They've been shrouded in controversy and trivialized for possible doomsday sporting scenarios ranging from widespread condemnation over anti-gay legislation and scares of possible terrorist attacks, to more-mundane fears such as insufficient amounts of snow in the subtropical Black Sea resort town. And then this week, two deadly bombings occurred within 24 hours in a town not far from the site of the Games.

It's mainly been bad news for President Vladimir Putin, who has a huge stake in Russia hosting a successful, safe and scandal-free sporting event. Many experts believe the Sochi Games represent a golden opportunity for the Premier to promote a more favorable world perception of Russia, as well as to showcase infrastructure that could attract increased domestic tourism.

After suffering high-profile snubs from numerous world...

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Last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow provided a multi-million pound boost boost to the city’s economy but Scotland as a country did not enjoy any significant financial advantages, according to official estimates published today to coincide with the first anniversary of the Opening ceremony.

The Scottish Government’s latest legacy report revealed that that Games contributed...

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Countless sports for people with impairment have changed drastically over the last few years with public awareness ever increasing. London 2012 also left a huge benefit for the United Kingdom.

From the 1970’s, many researchers began to show more interest in developing sport for people with impairments. Sport Science, as it’s now known is the scientific field that studies human movement with the aim of improving performance in sport at last found its application in Paralympic sport. This field incorporates research in areas such as physiology, psychology, biomechanics, performance analysis, sports technology and nutrition.

From 1993 the IPC had its first Sport Science Committee to emphasise it’s commitment to the advancement of Paralympic Sport. Since then this research has been a vital part of the IPC.

In January 2011, the IPC Sport Science Committee published the “Handbooks of Sports Medicine and Science”. This was the IPC’s first comprehensive guide to...

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