SARASOTA, Fla. - The Sochi Winter Olympics have been controversial from the start. Russia's anti-gay message, for example, is not sitting well with many athletes from around the world; and now with opening ceremonies just a day away, Sochi faces more shocking problems.
It seems as if the Olympics snuck up on Russia. With just one day until the games begin, workers are still rushing to finish work on roads and infrastructure.
But a former Olympian, from the Suncoast, says no city can be completely prepared for an event of this magnitude.
"No city is every fully ready. Atlanta wasn't fully ready; Barcelona wasn't fully ready. When we went into our apartments, which ended up being housing later on, they still had huge amount of dust from construction,” says Tripp Schwenk, a 1996 gold and silver medal winning Olympian, and Sarasota Police officer.
Accommodations are the biggest buzz on the streets of Sochi as journalists arrive and check into hotels.
Among the list of shocking conditions, the tap water is toxic, flowing out of faucets, the color of apple juice.
The toilets will flush, but without paper.
"To have dozens and dozens of rooms not ready for journalists or whoever; it's just absolutely an embarrassment,” says Christine Brennan.
But local Ellenton skaters have traveled the world skating and say this is not unusual.
"Just coming back from Taiwan, we couldn't drink the water there. So having experienced it a little bit ourselves, I think a lot of places in the world are like that. So I'm not sure it's a preparation thing,” says Tarah Kayne, a national championship silver medalist skater.
In the Olympic camp, several athletes are injured and one will not even compete, after practicing on a slopestyle snowboarding course. Officials are now scrambling to adjust the slope before the games start.
"Do I think it was a mistake to pick Sochi? No. Do I think that the Russian government and the organizers there probably could have done a better job getting everything in order? Yea, evidently that's the case,” says Schwenk.
Tripp won a gold and silver medal at the 1996 summer Olympics in Atlanta as a swimmer, where there was a bombing in the city at the time of the Olympics. He tells me he understands the major concerns in Sochi, but says the athletes just need to keep their focus on their sport.