The Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, are certifiably the most expensive and allegedly staggeringly corrupt.
Upwards of $50 billion has been spent to turn a place that's been best known as a Black Sea beach resort, where rich Russians could warm themselves under palm trees during long Moscow winters, into a winter sports capital with ski slopes and bobsled runs.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. It's the first day of Winter Olympic in Sochi. Winners and losers are flying off the slopes. Those that don't want to know what happened before you have a chance to see it on TV, consider this is a spoiler alert. We're joined now by NPR's Tamara Keith from Sochi. Tamara, thanks very much for being with us.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Glad to be with you.
SIMON: And let's start with the biathlon because someone who's regarded as a legend, I guess, has performed....
The problems with decrepit hotel rooms and stray dogs in Sochi, Russia, are stealing the headlines, but they are hardly the first Olympics to stumble. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Esquire Magazine's AJ Jacobs about some of the more inglorious moments in Winter Olympics history.
Alex Rodriguez has accepted his season-long ban from baseball and dropped his lawsuits against the MLB and the Players Association. NPR's Scott Simon talks with Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine about one of baseball's greatest and most infamous players.
The 2014 Winter Games officially kick off today. And we're going to spend a few minutes to talk about the driving force behind them, Russian President Vladimir Putin. He's been in power since Russia began bidding for the games back in 2005, and he's made it a mission to bring them to Sochi. NPR's Corey Flintoff is on the line with us from Sochi to talk about why these games are so important to the man at the top. Hi there, Corey.
The 2014 Winter Olympics officially opened Friday with a ceremony celebrating Russian culture and introducing Olympic athletes from around the world. NPR's Robert Smith was at the ceremony in Sochi and joins us to recount the pomp and pitfalls on display.