Thousands of images are pouring out of Sochi in the lead-up to the Olympics. And things don’t look great. There are unfinished buildings, a lack of winter weather, and an abundance of rubbish. But don’t believe every image you see. Like so much of what gets passed on social media these days, a lot of them aren’t exactly what they claim.
1) Is this really a “half-bathroom” in Sochi?
At first glance, this photo of a wall running straight through a toilet in Sochi looks like a hilarious mistake. But the image isn’t from Sochi. And there’s no way it was a mistake.
The photo is at least 6 months old (and probably much older), though it’s not entirely clear what this photo actually depicts. Is it an art project? Is it some foreign bathroom custom Americans wouldn’t understand? The only thing that’s clear is that it predates the Sochi Olympics by a good stretch.
2) Is this “ice cream in the ass” menu translation for real?
Yes, that “ice cream in the arse” translation is real. But the photo is from at least 2012, and probably not from Sochi. The “ass” is an abbreviation for “assortment.” Other variations like “lemonade in the ass[ortment]” and “cakes in the arse[ortment]” keep popping up on social media as well. Funny indeed, but these aren’t quite the “lost in translation” moments you were looking for. Move along.
3) Is this brown water coming from a Sochi tap?
Some journalists have reported plumbing problems at some of the hotels in Sochi, and the water may very well be unpotable. But this particular photo isn’t from Russia. The image dates to at least August of 2012 and was used to illustrate the fact that tap water in the Ukraine was not scoring well on government tests.
4) Is this really the “most judgmental” bathroom in Sochi?
This image of the “most judgmental bathroom ever” keeps popping up as being from Sochi. However, there’s no evidence that it’s from any Olympic Games facility, or Sochi itself for that matter. The image most recently went viral in December of 2013, where it was shared on dozens of humour sites for its funny juxtaposition.
5) Is this a real “Sudden Gunfire” sign at the Sochi Olympics?
It’s not clear where this “Sudden Gunfire” sign might be, but it’s most certainly not at the Sochi Olympics. Security is tight, but not so tight that officials need to warn of random bullets.
“Sudden Gunfire” signs are actually fairly common near military facilities around the world, warning people in the area who might hear gunshots that they’re [probably] not in danger.
6) Is this a bathroom for the athletes in Sochi?
No, this isn’t a communal bathroom intended for the Olympic athletes in Sochi this winter, though it is a bathroom in Russia. Specifically, you can find it at Kazan University in the Volga region. Online jokesters have very clearly just been searching something like “toilets Russia” and posting them as being from the new facilities for the Olympic games. Good for a chucklegoof or two, but not at all accurate.
7) Is this a sign from the Sochi Olympics?
Yes, that “Welcome to Sochi!” sign is real. But it’s not a recent photo. According to Reuters it’s at least a year old. The image is convenient for people who want to depict the city as particularly unprepared and poverty-stricken. Both of which may be true, but it’s not how visitors are being greeted at this Olympics.
8) Are these really dead stray dogs killed by officials in Sochi?
We’ve blurred out this image, because it’s awful. You may have seen it though; piles of dead dogs, alleged to be victims of the city’s plan to exterminate strays in the lead-up to the games. Yes, dogs are being killed. But no, that photo you see circulating on Facebook and Twitter is not from Sochi. It’s from Ukraine in 2012.