The lead up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, has been intense. Not for the games themselves but for the fact that the location is a controversial one, with Russia cracking down on gay rights and security on high alert for terror threats.

How humble Putin got the Winter Olympics

Credit: Dmitry Astakhov/Itar-Tass

Why are the Games taking place there anyway? Russian President Vladimir Putin was too good to resist, according to the New York Times:

Seven years ago, the I.O.C. (International Olympic Committee) awarded the 2014 Winter Games to Sochi, making it the first subtropical host of the Winter Olympics. Its voters were wooed by President Vladimir V. Putin’s pitch for the Games, as well as his charm, both of which he delivered to voters in person.

“His performance was superb,” Patrick Hickey, an I.O.C. member from Ireland, said after the vote. “He was humble. He spoke in English and French. The second-most powerful man in the world said everything will be delivered.”

Blinded by Putin’s celebrity and his vision of creating a brand new winter sports haven, the I.O.C. seemed to overlook the fact that Sochi is in one most restive areas of the world, where Russians have been fighting the Chechens, with violent ends, for hundreds of years.

Nice body, though.