Today: Last Update:

  • Media Watch - Road to Sochi 2014; Brazil's Progress


    “Corruption and Censorship” Mar Sochi 2014
    Russia's President Vladimir Putin lighting the torch to mark the start of the 2014 Winter Olympic torch relay. (Getty Images)

    The Guardian’s Shaun Walker explores the FSB surveillance system in place for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. “Athletes and spectators attending the Winter Olympics will face some of the most invasive and systematic spying and surveillance in the history of the Games,” Walker writes.

    Alec Luhn reports on the “shadow cast over” the Sochi Games. On Monday, the Olympic torch was lit in Sochi. The celebratory atmosphere in Russia is marred by “corruption and censorship” rumors.

    “With an estimated price tag of $51 billion,” Luhn writes, “February 2014’s Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi will be the most expensive in history.” He adds, “Critics say more than half that money may have gone towards embezzlement and kickbacks.”

    Investigators Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan reveal to The Guardian how they “unearthed the FSB spy plan for the 2014 Winter Olympics.”

    Despite the criticism the network received during the 2012 London Olympics, NBC reports it will continue its “tape-delayed coverage” during the Sochi Games for “a simple reason: it works.” Bloomberg’s Tariq Panja features comments from NBC’s leaders such as NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus: “I can’t create a primetime event live if it’s the middle of the night where the event is taking place...We have no choice.” NBC’s critics include CNN show host Piers Morgan and Time magazine television critic James Poniewozik.

    The Wall Street Journal travels to the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York to spend a morning with the United States biathlon team at their dry land facility. Olympic biathlon hopefuls such as Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey find “creative” ways to prepare for the 2014 Winter Olympics without snow or other “seasonal conditions” expected at the Sochi Games.

    Luke Mitrani competing in the FIS Snowboard World Cup Half Pipe finals last January. (Getty Images)
    “Every August, the world’s best snowboarders come to work on big-air and physics-defying tricks in this tiny town hidden by mountains and surrounded by sheep,” New York Times reporter Joe Drape writes. “Wanaka, New Zealand has the only Olympic-size halfpipe open anywhere in the world at that time of year.” Athletes complete the same training routine almost every day and occasionally break for a “field trip” to some of New Zealand’s “stunning” sites. Drape offers readers a glimpse into the snowboarding “community.”

    The article centers on American competitor Luke Mitrani's 40 foot fall that will cost him his spot in the 2014 Winter Games. “Mitrani cannot talk about the accident without his heart racing and his voice quivering,” Drape writes. The injury brought Mitrani clarity. “We think so many things are so important that are not,” Mitrani said. “Your family and friends are what matters. I wanted to live even if I was paralyzed. For me, to lose a life for that isn’t worth it.”

    2014 World Cup and Rio 2016

    The Associated Press covers the impending deadline for organizers in Brazil to complete stadium construction for the 2014 World Cup. “Of the six stadiums yet to be delivered, five were less than 90 percent completed by September,” reports Tales Azzoni. “Skepticism about Brazil's ability to deliver the stadiums intensified after organizers failed to keep their promise ahead of the Confederations Cup.”At that time, only “two of the six venues were completed by the original FIFA deadline.”
    Since January, construction has slowly progressed at the Arena Pantanal in Brazil. (Getty Images)

    “First came troops with assault rifles and flak jackets, then street cleaners with brooms and buckets of whitewash, and finally satellite TV salesmen with a three-month special offer to first-time subscribers.” The Guardian’s Jonathan Watts reports on the “slick 35th favela pacification operation” in Rio aimed at clearing drug gangs from “shanty towns,” in preparation for the 2014 World Cup.

    A source tells Business Insider Australia that Rio de Janeiro will turn “more than half of the buildings erected” for the 2016 Summer Olympics into “schools and smaller scale sporting facilities” after the Games. Seven new sporting venues are planned for the 2016 Games; four will be temporary. AECOM associate director Adam Williams is the “strongest advocate” for including recyclable features in Rio’s Olympic park. “Recyclable venues tended to be 20-30% cheaper to build than permanent venues, although they may not be able to accommodate certain technologies,” Williams explains. He also describes the architectural approach to designing “sustainable” Olympic venues.

    In Other News

    Prospect Magazine’s Peter Matanle claims the 2020 Summer Olympics will not “solve Japan’s problems.” Problems throughout the country are overshadowed by “confined” media coverage. The IOC’s decision to award Tokyo the 2020 bid “rested partly on the assumptions that the nuclear situation in Fukushima is manageable, and that the Games will bring opportunities for recovery to the tsunami-destroyed communities,” Matanle writes. While the first assumption seems plausible, Matanle affirms “the latter assumption is less certain.”

    Compiled by Nicole Bennett.

    For general comments or questions, click here.

    20 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics, for subscribers only.