Record 88 nations to compete in Sochi Olympics 

click to enlarge Construction
  • Luca Bruno/ap
  • Construction work continues outside the Gorki Plaza East hotel in Russia, where the Olympics start later this week.
Athletes from 88 countries are set to compete in Sochi, a record for the Winter Olympics. The IOC released the final list of national Olympic committees that will be participating in the Sochi Games, which open Friday. The previous record was set at the 2010 Vancouver Games, where 82 national teams took part. Among those competing in the Winter Games for the first time is the southern African nation of Zimbabwe, represented by Alpine skier Luke Steyn.

A total of about 3,000 athletes will be competing in 98 medal events.

Alarm bells ringing in Olympic construction zone: It’s almost impossible to pin down how many hotels will be finished ahead of the Winter Games, which officially open Friday, though events get under way Thursday. Construction was still being done in Gorki Plaza on Sunday. The plaza was always supposed to be a hive of activity, but it just wasn’t supposed to be a hive of building activity this late. “I’m not fully satisfied, it’s true,” said Oleg Soloshchansky, president of the Inteco company responsible for construction of buildings. “Frankly speaking, it was a tough situation here, but we are set to cordially meet our guests.”

Another twin toilet seen in Sochi: Side-by-side toilets in a men’s bathroom caused a social media sensation last month when they were discovered at the biathlon venue for the Sochi Olympics, swiftly becoming a national joke in Russia. Now, another privy without privacy has been found - right under the noses of the media. The Associated Press found the toilets built for two in a lavatory for female staff and volunteers conducting security checks of journalists at the new Main Media Center.

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