There have been more complaints in Sochi, Russia than compliments during the 2014 Winter Olympics. US speed skater Patrick Meek has one more to add: the rink is too humid for fast times.
“It’s a really nice surface, and they’ve done the best they can,” Meek said, after finishing 20th at 5,000 meters in 6:32.94. “But you can see the Black Sea from the building. You’re fighting geography. It’s what we call fake ice. You think it’s fast, but it’s not fast.”
He was not happy with his placement as The Netherlands swept the event. Americans Emery Lehman and Jonathan Kuck finished 16th and 19th.
Still, there was some consolation. Meek said he planned to share a very humid beer after the race with his father.
“I haven’t had an alcoholic beverage in 20-something months,” he said. “A lot of guys haven’t drunk in years, because if that’s what it takes to be at your best as an athlete, you do it.”
In fact, the outdoor events take place 41 miles, which is about an hour, north of Sochi in order to perform. Many wondered why Sochi was chosen since it is a summer resort town and in a subtropic climate. The weather forecast for the first week does not drop below 50 degrees.
But there are problems with the outdoor slopes. American skier Bode Miller criticized the slopestyle course and said the slope could kill a person. His teammate Marco Sullivan took a nasty spill and barely missed serious injury. Czech snowboarder Sarka Pancochova crashed on the slope and the impact broke her helmet. American snowboarder Shaun White dropped out of the event on the slope due to safety concerns.
Sochi also faces complaints about the unfinished hotel rooms, unsafe drinking water, terrorism, stray dogs, etc. The numerous media complaints inspired a Twitter account @SochiProblems and the Sochi Problems website.