Lausanne, Switzerland – Amid mounting pressure from human rights organizations that have condemned Russia’s escalating crackdown on homosexuality, the International Olympic Committee today decided to move the 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia, to Honolulu, Hawaii. The dates remain unchanged, February 7-23, 2014.
The IOC reached the decision as more and more sponsors like VISA, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Samsung, started withdrawing their financial support for the international sports event, in protest of Russia’s homophobic stance.
IOC officials, speaking at a hastily-convened press conference after a whirlwind visit to Honolulu over the weekend, said that only a world-class destination like Hawaii can pull off preparations for the Winter Olympics in such short notice. Instead of building an Olympic Village, Honolulu will provide tents and outdoor showers for all athletes and delegation members from participating countries. Honolulu will cordon off 5 miles of Waikiki beach for this purpose.
The Blaisdell Arena will serve as the main venue for all the indoor sports events. It can easily accommodate an Olympic-sized ice rink, of course using artificial ice. All outdoor events will be held at the Diamond Head Volcano which will be fully covered with artificial snow.
Honolulu mayor Kirk Caldwell promises the most spectacular opening ceremony in the history of the Winter Olympics, saying that he has enlisted the participation of all the hula halaus and surfing clubs in the entire Rainbow State. Instead of a closing ceremony, Caldwell said that Honolulu will host the largest luau Hawaii has ever seen. “It will be one for the Guinness Book of World Records,” he added.