When I think of the greatest female athlete of all time, names like Serena Williams, Billie Jean King, Steffi Graf, Cathy Freeman and Jacqueline Joyner-Kersee come to mind.
An Australian course worker at the Sochi Winter Olympics has painted a bleak picture of the area just two weeks out from the Games, describing dodgy construction, poor accommodation and questionable employment conditions – all the while preparing not to be paid.
Sydney-raised Johnnie Balfour, who is accredited as a shaping expert by the Russian Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, was contracted to build a course at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
He arrived in Sochi earlier this week but hasn’t had too many nice things to say about a Games city that has spent over $US50 billion on its event.
“Nothing is finished here and there is piles of garbage everywhere,” Balfour wrote on his tumblr blog, confirming its contents with AAP via email.
“Muddy water is pouring off the mountain and flowing through the streets and the cobblestone pavers are all lifting up or disappearing into sink holes.
“This entire place was built in the last few years, it looks nice at first glance but look a little closer and you can see that it was just thrown together.
“Most of the buildings are not finished and with only two weeks to go before the Games start, they never will be finished. It is pouring rain and close to 10 degrees above zero. The little snow they have is rapidly disappearing.”
He wasn’t exactly impressed with his accommodation either.
“The toilet flushes muddy water, there is no hot water, the shower floor is covered in dirt and mud, there was piss all over the toilet, the water is undrinkable (it’s brown), it’s even sketchy to brush your teeth with it and the idea of having internet in this place is a joke,” he wrote.
Balfour, a former soldier in the Australian Army, is a renowned shaper of snowboard cross and ski cross courses, and built the site at Cypress Mountain for the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010.
He now thinks it’s unlikely he will even get paid after saying the terms of his service were changed so payment would be received 10 days after he returned to his base in Canada.
Balfour blogged one line on Thursday: “I’ve just been told to shut up.”