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2014 Winter Olympics

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Sochi Olympics scene: Russian roulette had housing renters rolling the dice

Cruise ships cancelled cabin reservations with little notice
Cruise ships cancelled cabin reservations with little notice
Olympic Proportions

SOCHI, Russia: By now, Olympics journalist and official staff member complaints about inadequate lodging have subsided.

Through on-site repairs, additional accoutrements provided, and simply greater patience, these occupants have adjusted to their housing, albeit substandard.

Still, for those who argued the loudest via posted articles and tweets that soon trended, or through official complaints sent to the organizers, the Sochi Olympics Organizing Committee stepped in to remedy these problems.

One fallback card that these organizing gamblers were forced to play, had rampant repercussions within the entire 40,000-bed housing community of hotels, lodges, bed and breakfast housing, and cruise ships.

Starting just before the Opening Ceremonies, a form of Russian Roulette played out. These embarrassed organizers quickly shifted hundreds of Olympics media and official staff members to other housing – some with available rooms due to last minute cancellations, and surprisingly hundreds (estimated) to locations without any vacancies at all.

The latter scenario caused, in turn, an estimated several hundred tourists, such as spectators and even athlete family members, to have their reservations struck – much to their shock and anger.

A brother of Canadian hockey star Megan Augosto said, “I received an email, just one day I before I left for Sochi stating that my (cruise ship) room reservation was cancelled due to overbooking.” This identical term was cited by other dislocated people I spoke with – an obvious “code” word for being trumped by a person visiting in a more official capacity.

Within this letter, the cruise ship informed him that alternative (and less convenient) lodging was found in an off-the-beaten-path, mid-star hotel. He had no other choice but to accept the cards he was dealt.

Numerous stories were shared by others – some receiving advance notice, some not. In the latter case, a few members of the Olympin Olympic memorabilia club I spoke with said that their single cruise ship reservation was piecemealed.

Upon arriving in Sochi, they had to lodge at another ship or hotel for a few days before space opened up on their originally booked cruise ship for the remainder of their stay.

Cruise ship representatives stated that the rooms had to be “reallocated” at the request of the Sochi Olympics Organizing Committee.

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