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Sochi Preview: Welcome To The Russian Riviera

The most expensive Games ever are being held in a subtropical resort surrounded by conflict zones and riddled with Chicago-style corruption writ large. Get ready for 98 events in three weeks, endless jingoism and world-class athletic feats.

1. Sun 'N' Fun.


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See also: Putin's Run For Gold.

"At $50 billion and counting, the 2014 Winter Olympics, in Sochi, will be the most expensive Olympic Games ever," Vanity Fair reports.

"Intended to showcase the power of Vladimir Putin's Russia, they may instead highlight its problems: organized crime, state corruption, and the terrorist threat within its borders."

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And: The Sochi Project.

"Winter Olympics in a subtropical resort. Surrounded by conflict zones. The most expensive Games ever. This is the idea being realized in Sochi. So begins An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus, a photo book, published by Aperture, by the photographer Rob Hornstra and the writer Arnold van Bruggen, the final chapter of their long-term collaboration, The Sochi Project," the New Yorker reports.

"The two began the project in 2009, practicing what they call 'slow journalism' to unearth the untold stories of Sochi, Russia, which will host the 2014 Winter Olympics. With the 2014 Games as their deadline, the pair sought to 'provide a grassroots analysis of what's going on in this region, an analysis not made by politicians and the usual talking heads, but by slowly composing a new image . . . by doing almost anthropological fieldwork,' van Bruggen said."

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2. Women finally allowed to ski jump; skiers finally allowed in the half-pipe.

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3. Sochi's Stray Dogs.

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4. Americans To Watch.

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Comments welcome.

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