Will Russia show itself Disabled in Sochi?

The Opening Ceremony for the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver, Canada, was sold out. 60,000 people watched the parade of nations, and 230,000 tickets were sold for the competitive events, a new record for the Paralympics.  Russia took first place in the total medal count by a huge margin, and narrowly missed first place in gold medals.

Russia is hosting the 2014 Paralympics, so one might expect an amazing new ticket sales plateau to be reached. Radio Free Europe reports, however, that this is far from being the case:

Tickets for the Games went on sale last week. But despite their comparatively low price and the strong showing of Russia’s Paralympic team in the 2012 London Games, officials themselves are warning that this year’s event could generate only limited interest among Russians. The head of the Russian Paralympic Committee, Mikhail Terentyev, said there were “significant concerns” that the competition would not attract enough spectators to fill Sochi’s vast new stadiums.

RFE reports that Russia remains a hellish nightmare for disabled people.  In order to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, Russia was forced to host the Paralympics as well, and in turn was forced to make the Winter Olympics venues fully accessible. But this hasn’t meant that Russia has done anything to improve the lives of its own disabled citizens at all.

Will Russia disgrace itself by leaving the Paralympic venue halls to stand empty?

Deranged Russia, Babbling like a Psychopath

The last time the Winter Olympiad was staged, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada, Russia received a paltry total of just three gold medals, failing even to make the top ten nations on that criteria.  It was a disastrous, humiliating disgrace for Russia, which had only 15 medals in total, placing it sixth overall in that category.

The next Winter Olympiad will be staged in Sochi, Russia next year.  Costs have soared completely out of control, and the event will cost significantly more than the Summer Olympiad recently hosted by London, even though the winter games are a much smaller enterprise.  The reason isn’t that the Russian games will be so luxurious, of course, but that Russian corruption has eaten away the nation’s resources.  Russia is trying to hide the burden on the national treasury by using “contributions” from state-controlled companies instead of budgetary funds, but nobody is fooled.

But that craziness is nothing compared to the completely deranged, psychotic statements of Russian Olympic Committee President Aleksandr Zhukov.  He has gone on record as predicting that Russia will triple its total medal count and multiply its gold medal count by a factor of five!.  It will win 15 gold medals and 45 total medals, he says, to lead all nations.  That is one more gold medal than gold total winner Canada won in Vancouver, and 8 more total medals than world-leading USA won in Vancouver.

You read that right:  Russia claims it will win five times more gold medals and three times more total medals just because the games are held on Russia soil.  A cynic might say the only way that could happen would be by cheating.

Compared to 2006, host Canada only managed to double its gold-medal count in Vancouver, and its total medal count increased by just two medals, from 24 to 26. In other words, there was virtually no increase in total medals, Canada simply got significantly better at a half-dozen events where it had previously won less than gold.

Russia’s pie-in-the-sky, emperor’s-new-clothes craziness is nothing new. Soviet leaders used to make insane statements like this all the time, and of course Russia is ruled by a KGB spy who himself issues deranged statements of this kind on a routine basis.  When Russia fails to deliver on this promise, the reason will be clear:  Russia is all crazy talk, no action. It prefers to create a world of self-deception than to roll up its sleeves and get to work.