There is no lack of controversy surrounding the fast-approaching Sochi Olympics, from the “gay propaganda” law to the harassment and detention of journalists. Here’s something else to be depressed about: Russia is putting more money into Sochi than has gone into any other Olympics in history — including the much larger summer games. And that money probably hasn’t been well spent. “In Russia corruption is not a side effect: it is a product almost as important as the sporting event itself,” The Economist notes. Also: “Most of the money is coming from the public purse or from state-owned banks.”
At more than $50 billion overall, these Olympics surpass the $43 billion 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, which involved about four times as many athletes as will compete in Sochi. But how do you even fathom that much money? Allow us to help.