Worst. Olympic. Slogan. Ever.

Sochi, Russia is "Hot. Wintry. Yours."

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The 500-day countdown to an Olympic Games is not much of a milestone outside of the host city, so you may not have noticed that the organizing committee for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, took the occasion last week to unveil some pretty big news. Sochi now has an official slogan, which means that the rest of us have 490-plus days to titter over its terribleness.

In English, the organizing committee explains that the slogan means “Hot. Cold. Yours.” Although a more literal translation, which comes to us from the Global Voices blog network, translates the Russian “Жаркие. Зимние. Твои.” as “Hot. Wintry. Yours.”

This sounds like a pretty steamy description for the world’s largest nationalistic gathering of underage ice-skaters and curling heroes. So what was Sochi thinking? As the organizing committee tells it:

The slogan is made up of two parts: one dynamic (changeable) and one constant. It is intended to reflect the national character of Russia and the values of the Sochi 2014 brand, as well as Sochi 2014’s progressive and innovative approach to the organization and staging of the Games.

If this is still not clear to you, consider that the heat is supposed to represent the "intensity of sporting battle and the passion of the spectators," and the wintry cool the fact that this is, obviously, a Winter Olympics held in a country most of us picture in eternal blizzard. "Yours" is a ploy to convince skeptical Russians that these Games belong to them. And then there are those stylish periods, each of which "draws a parallel with high technologies."

The slogan’s big unveil has since set off widespread giggling in the Russian Twitter and blogosphere. Global Voices’ Andrey Tseliko has done some much appreciated work translating the best of it for us. “The Russian version of the slogan is plural,” he writes, “which in combination with ‘жаркие,’ makes people think of the words ‘passionate,’ ‘fervent,’ and ‘sultry,’ rather than simply temperature.”

Thus:

Via Tseliko: "They say that the Sochi Olympic slogan was originally 'Winter with blackjack and whores!', but at the last moment they changed it to 'Hot. Wintry. Yours.'"

From journalist Andrey Kozenko:

"The Olympic slogan 'Hot. Wintry. Yours' is missing a phone number and a line that says 'Private residences. Apartments.'"

Or there's this more succinct critique:

"Is it just me, or is this lacking the word 'Boobs?'"

Fair question. Of course, it's quite possible that the Sochi organizers are just looking for buzz (we don't claim to have any idea what Russian bureaucrats are thinking). If that's the case – heck, even if it's not – please answer this Olympic call to append your own NSFW interpretation on the theme of sultry Russian snow-bunnies below. Do it for your country.

About the Author

  • Emily Badger is a former staff writer at CityLab. Her work has previously appeared in Pacific StandardGOODThe Christian Science Monitor, and The New York Times. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area.