What's wrong with this picture?

Two toilets in one cubicle

A photograph from the Sochi Winter Olympics has been doing the rounds on social media, after journalists were shown around some of the buildings supporting the games. The photograph, taken by BBC correspondent Steve Webb and shared on Twitter, reveals that as part of the £31 billion building frenzy surrounding the games, the changing rooms in the biathlon centre were built with two toilets in one cubicle.

It goes to show that major sporting events and national humiliation over building projects go hand-in-hand.


The Sochi Winter Olympics has been drawing criticism over of the vast cost of the enterprise. It has been estimated at £31 billion - three times the price of the London Summer Olympics. It is set to be the most expensive Olympics in history - and cost as much as all the other 21 Winter Olympics combined.

There are a number of crazy examples of spending, including the 30-mile road built for the games which cost £5 billion - one magazine calculated that for that price it could have been paved in 1cm of black caviar. It's perhaps not surprising that this has led to some speculation that some of the cash has been skimmed off the top.

It's an embarrassment for the media machine striving to portray an image of unassailable modern Russia.

Sporting projects

However, over the years, building projects for sporting events have offered up plenty of humiliations for the host nations.

In 2010 the Delhi Commonwealth Games was called 'India's Shame' by the Times of India. Among the construction disasters was the fact that a month before the games the local government condemned the athlete's village as unfit for human habitation.

In 1976, Montreal built an enormous Olympic stadium to host the games, and was left with a $1.5 billion debt that wasn't paid off until 2008. The stadium has been nicknamed the Big Owe.

However, few can rival Athens for white elephant buildings. Some 21 of the 22 venues built for the 2004 Olympics lie abandoned, and maintenance of the sites over the last decade has cost £500 million.

Even the buildings for forthcoming events have had their share of ridicule. The National Stadium of Japan, which is to be built for when Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games in 2020, has been likened to a bike helmet.

Meanwhile, the building for the Qatar World Cup has faced suggestions that from the air Qatar's new Al-Wakrah sports stadium looks less like the billowing sails that were intended, and more like a woman's private parts.

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