Sochi's 'two loos' furore lands Winter Games in the poo

Picture of side-by-side toilets in men's cubicle at biathalon venue puts Olympic 'waste' in spotlight


A PHOTOGRAPH of a men's cubicle with twin toilets at a Sochi Games venue has "caused a Twitter storm" in Russia, reports the BBC.

The picture, which was tweeted by the BBC's Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg, shows the side-by-side toilets at the Biathlon Centre.

The snap caused "hilarity and disbelief" on the internet. To some it is a symbol of the waste and corruption at the heart of an event that is costing Russia an estimated $50bn. To others, it has humorous connotations given the recent furore over the country's anti-gay laws.

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"Seeing double in the Gentlemen's Loo at the Olympic Biathlon Centre," wrote Rosenberg in his original tweet.

Just to make clear, this is not photoshopped. You can see my reflection in the flusher. #Sochi #Olympic loo — Steve Rosenberg (@BBCSteveR) January 21, 2014

Russia's opposition leader Alexei Navalny retweeted the image with a message that questioned why stereo loos would be installed. However, he seemed unsure about the location of the facilities when he wrote: "This is a men's toilet in a Sochi Olympics media centre for 1.5bn roubles [£27m]."

Another user of the microblogging site added: "Two toilets - 28,000 roubles. Olympic media centre - 1.5bn roubles. Global embarrassment - priceless."

The side-by-side men's toilets also attracted the attention of those appalled by Russia's controversial anti-gay laws. "This is how they [Russian authorities] understand the needs of sexual minorities," was one quip.

Writing in Business Insider, Tony Manfred says the two loos picture "is becoming a symbol of waste at the Sochi Games".

"Two toilets in one stall is hardly as wasteful as an $8.7 billion road," he writes. "But with critics already out in full force, one ridiculous toilet photo was all it took to reignite the debate."

One Twitter user fired up Photoshop and added a picture of Russian president Vladimir Putin and PM Dmitry Medvedev to the wall above the cisterns.

После вчерашней критики туалета в олимпийском центре биатлона там, наконец, навели порядок. — Рустем Адагамов (@adagamov) January 21, 2014

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