In 2007, when Russia won its bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, the country estimated the games would cost $12 billion. Seven years later, with the opening ceremony just three weeks away, the cost of the games has exploded to an estimated $50 billion, CNN reports, which is believed to be the most expensive Olympics in history.
Even Russia’s bid for the games showed a staggering inflation over the cost of previous Olympics. When Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Games, the total cost of preparations was $8.7 billion. But as Russian began building new roads, hotels and sporting venues, the cost of the Sochi games kept climbing, surpassing China’s 2008 summer games, which are believed to have cost $40 billion.
Even the Beijing Olympics–before Sochi the most expensive in history–seems like a bargain compared to this year’s games. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, the 302 events in Beijing cost roughly $132 million per event, while Sochi’s 98 events will average out to $520 million a pop. New infrastructure and security are believed to be the most expensive parts of the Sochi games. But Russia’s former deputy prime minister and fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin published a report last year alleging widespread corruption, calling the Olympics one of the most “outrageous swindles” in recent Russian history.
Russia plans to use much of the new infrastructure when the country hosts the World Cup in 2018.