Sochi organizers: Only 6 of 9 media hotels ready

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 1, 2014 at 10:29 am •  Published: February 1, 2014
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SOCHI, Russia (AP) — A stray dog inside the hotel, building dust everywhere and debris scattered all around. That's what some Olympic-accredited visitors have found on arrival in the mountains above Sochi.

According to the Sochi Olympic organizing committee, only six of the nine media hotels in the mountain area are fully operational. The accommodation for athletes, however, has not been affected by the problems.

The Olympics open on Friday, with some preliminary competitions scheduled for the previous day, but it is common for many journalists to arrive several days in advance of the games.

The Russian government has spent $51 billion on the Olympics in the hopes of turning the Black Sea summer resort into a year-round tourism destination. But persistent rain has soaked Sochi, delaying work and turning it into a sodden construction zone in the weeks leading up to the games.

While pre-games attention has focused on cost overruns, threats of terrorist attacks and the Russian law banning gay "propaganda" among minors, the hotel situation could become an embarrassment for local organizers.

Joerg Reuter, a German who is working at his fifth Olympics for the European Pressphoto Agency, was one of the unlucky guests when he arrived on Jan. 19. After seeing several unacceptable rooms, including the one with the dog, he was forced to travel back down to the coast to find a place to sleep.

Others have also been turned away this week, including at some of the hotels that organizers said Saturday are "complete."

After his troubles, Reuter wrote a letter to the organizers to complain.

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