It's little surprise that the world gave Russia no time today to celebrate an Olympics successfully ended without catastrophe. By Monday, already we were on to the next critique: What on earth will become of this $51 billion national investment in hotel rooms for a region few tourists visit, in sports venues with no post-Olympic plan, in new roads and railways and shopping malls with zero demand in sight?
Here is The New York Times: Now What? A City Fears a Flameout.
The Washington Post: When the Olympics end, what will become of Sochi?
The New Republic goes with a suggestive slideshow evoking the 1980 Moscow games: What Happened Last Time the Olympics Left Town.
And Salon, to the point: Sochi’s bleak future: What happens to Olympic cities after the Olympics are over?
This is a perpetual question that hangs over the closing ceremony of every Olympics Games. But there's broad consensus that Sochi faces an unusually painful reckoning: The gulf between what the city erected from scratch for this one event and what could plausibly exist here in the coming years is simply enormous.
Sure, there will be a Formula 1 race in October, and World Cup soccer games come 2018. But Sochi didn't simply build out a few sports venues, elevating a local destination into a global one. It built 20,000 new hotel rooms. It built more than 200 miles of new roads and bridges. It devised the entire idea of a winter resort destination in a place where wealthy Russians don't normally vacation, and where other Russians likely won't be able afford to.