With competition heating up in the ongoing Sochi Winter Olympics despite the freezing weather, the funny and horror stories such as twin toilets and yellow water coming out of taps that preceded the opening ceremony on Friday have taken the backseat.
A general view of the accommodation at the athletes village in Rosa Khutor as preparations continue for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics February 1, 2014. (Reuters)
It seems the only major problem left for Russian game organisers is to full up the noticeable empty seats in competition venues.
Canadian daily CBC cited the "far from full" stands at the slopestyle course, the 60 per cent-only audience when the first women's hockey game was played and a slightly bigger crowd at the second match.
Although the International Olympic Committee claims 92 per cent of all tickets have been sold, the quiet small crowds says otherwise.
CoSports, which sells the tickets to foreigners, sold only 75 per cent of the 8,000 seats at the Adler's Arena where speedskating competition is held, despite the sport being considered one that is easy to sell tickets. The Web Site said there are still tickets for almost all events, including men's hockey and figure skating which are usually in high demand.
However, tickets to the biathlon are sold out, but most of the buyers are Russians who love that sport.
The newspaper theorised that many seats have no occupants because of the high price of the tickets which are between $15 and $1,200. On one hand, with an average monthly salary of $890, not too many Russians could afford to buy the tickets even for modestly priced seats.
On the other hand, foreigners who could afford the tickets could have found the plane ticket and hotel stay pricey, didn't appreciate the lack of direct flights to Sochi and acted on their security fears which could have caused the overseas visitors to have second thoughts in coming to Russia.
CBC quoted one Russian volunteer who said that organisers have to beg volunteers to rush to the stadium on the opening ceremony to ensure the cameras would not capture images of empty seats, although it did capture images of a snowflake that failed to morph into an Olympic circle.
By comparison, in Vancouver, Canada, where the last Winter Games was held, 97 per cent of the tickets of the 1.5 million tickets printed were sold. The London Summer Games in 2012 also logged a 97 per cent sellout rate, but the city printed 8.5 million tickets.
Sochi, meanwhile, had 250,000 tickets printed.
With such a relatively low crowd turnout, maybe that's the reason why some of those who purchased tickets decided to amuse themselves instead by making fun of some of the "funny" names of some athletes, based on the English meanings.
The comments came out in Twitter. One name mentioned is German ski jumper Andreas Wank, which is an Australian term for masturbation. Another name is that of Russian luge athlete Semen Pavlichenko. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-r1nsX8HpY