Yesterday, BBC reporter Steven Rosenberg posted this picture from the biathlon and cross-country skiing venue for the Winter Olympics in Sochi. So why did the building planners put two toilets in the same stall? It's one of many mysteries of these upcoming games.
The move has even got people in Russia itself questioning the builders' judgment. Retweeting the photo, Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny wrote, "This is the men's room in the media center for the Sochi Olympics 1.5 billion roubles." (That's about $45,000.) "Two toilets - 28,000 roubles," a Russian blogger reportedly wrote. "Olympic media centre - 1.5bn roubles. Global embarrassment - priceless."
The biathlon center was actually built two years ago, which means these twin toilets may have already seen two years of use. And apparently in two years no one has pointed out that they may be a shock to the international community. When the building was completed, a representative of the company that sponsored it told a Russian news agency, "The building is one of the biggest and most comfortable structures of its kind in the world."
Maybe, then, the bathroom is built to make athletes more comfortable with each other and foster the international cooperation the Olympics strive for. Or maybe it's just because communal toilets actually aren't uncommon over there.
Kazan University on the eve of the Summer Universiade 2013. Image: BBC cameraman Max Lomakin pic.twitter.com/s9PDECpSrN
— Steve Rosenberg (@BBCSteveR) January 21, 2014