The Olympics officially kick off Friday. We imagine many a staffer and volunteer are scurrying around the Black Sea resort of Sochi, trying to prepare for the glamorous opening ceremony and making sure all security protocols are in place. But it turns out that Russia, despite spending a reported $51 billion on the most expensive Olympics ever, neglected a few key details.
It appears there aren’t enough pillows for the athletes in the Olympic Village. This news comes via the Instagram posts of Luiza Baybakova, a member of the catering staff for the games.
Baybakova posted a picture of a notice to volunteers, which translates as follows:
“ATTENTION, DEAR COLLEAGUES!
Due to an extreme shortage of pillows for athletes who unexpectedly arrived to Olympic Village in the mountains, there will be a transfer of pillows from all apartments to the storehouse on 2 February 2014. Please be understanding. We have to help the athletes out of this bind.”
How We Know
We monitored both Russian-language social networks and Instagram for posts related to the Olympic Village, and ran across this controversial gem.
Either the athletes arrived early, or event planners somehow didn’t know when they were arriving. Regardless, it seems like volunteers and staffers might now be asked to give up their own pillows to accommodate the athletes. It’s in line with what other citizen bloggers are posting ahead of the Olympics, like this guy, who claims residents near the stadiums are forbidden from using wood-burning fireplaces to avoid unsightly smoke coming out of chimneys. Even though it’s the Winter Games.
Of the string of comments on the original Instagram post, maybe the last one says it all: “Fuck…and now the whole world laughs…”
Sochi is clearly and massively underprepared. It’s sad and alarming, considering the allegations of corruption and abuse surrounding these games. But there’s at least one amusing takeaway: the hashtags posted by Baybakova (which admittedly might seem funnier in English): “Help with the pillows! #Sochi2014 #Olympics #OlympicCamp #OlympicVillage #ManyAthletes #PillowForEveryone #TakingPillows #CantSleepWithNoPillow.”
On a subsequent post featuring a pillow, she added, “#TheyreTakingOurPillows #OlympicPillow #WhereDoAthletesComeFrom #PlzDontTake.”
Some other gems of Sochi’s under-preparedness, quirks and unusual solutions have been widely covered, including our own piece on the now infamous double toilet. Here are a few of the latest: