Sochi Olympics 2014 Video: First Look Event Update #2
In less than three weeks, Russia will be in the world spotlight, when the city of Sochi hosts the country’s first ever Winter Olympic Games – but so far, it’s off to a rough start.
Sochi organizers announced last week that 70 percent of the tickets for the Games, which run Feb. 7-23, have yet to be sold, an astonishing number given the popularity of the event. There will be approximately 213,000 spectators during the games and with Russians making up an estimated 75 percent, it leaves little reassurance of bringing in travelers.
According to the Associated Press, the International Olympic Committee had about 1.1 million total tickets to offer, with about 300,000 remaining. So, why are there so many tickets still available?
One concern is Russia’s ban on gay propaganda and human rights. The country made world news when President Vladimir Putin made his stance on gay rights clear – approving anti-gay bills, detaining protestors and even most recently, linking homosexuals to pedophiles.
But the biggest concern has to be safety.
Over the last few weeks, threats to attack the games have become public knowledge. Speculation has already begun as Sochi police remain on the hunt to find a terror suspect. A woman, identified as Ruzana Ibragimova, 22, is a known female terrorist and was recently spotted in downtown Sochi. News of Ibragimova’s appearance came less than a month after explosions killed 34 people and injured dozens 400 miles northeast of the city. Last Sunday, an Islamic militant group claimed responsibility for the bombings and posted a video threatening to strike during the games.
With safety such a concern, it’s no wonder that tickets are easy to come by. All eyes will be on Russia, but it could be for the wrong reasons. Russia has only been in the news for negative things in the last few weeks and it really shapes public opinion.
The price for a United States resident to fly to Russia is about $2,100. Add in a hotel stay and tickets to the events – which range from $15 to $1,200 per seat – and it’s certainly not cheap.
The risk, to many, might outweigh seeing something four years in the making. Our couch is much safer.
Ed Miller is a contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @PhillyEdMiller or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.
Photo Credit: Getty