What's different is that Sochi tournament is three times more expensive than all previous games combined. Latest jokes say next competition would be held in one of oil rich countries in Persian Gulf with average temperatures in high nineties and mountains built indoors. Let's give Russians a chance and don't be nasty in comments.
I honestly think people of Russia would vote for the organization of the event they were asked for their opinion. After all what people constantly want since ancient times is bread and circuses. Bread symbolizing desire for goods is hard to provide since people always want more and besides bread is not all, circuses of today's world seem far more important than the bread.
Russian story with the olympics is also the pride. Vladimir Putin in the effort of rebuilding the empire after bitter defeat of the cold war and Soviet Union fallen into pieces needs spectacular events that could be remembered for generations. Just like launching Sputnik or Gagarin being a first man in space except space exploration has grown old. Sport events on the other hand keeps gaining attention, completely professional these days with stars worth dozen million of dollars and excellent media coverage providing spectators with ultimate experience.
Spectacular sport event have became a declaration of economic power, management and engineering excellence. We had that shown very strongly in Beijing in 2008, when blooming China economy was showing the world that it could much more than manufacture products designed somewhere else in the world. By organizing a major sport event such as soccer World Cup or Olympic games a county could earn the id badge of a highly developed and organized state, rich, powerful, accountable and predictable.
Complaints could be often heard that such event promotes the whole country yet it’s region or a specific city that pays the high price to make it happen. Montreal only recently finished paying off the debts for the games it organized in 1976. This is not the case though for countries that have a reason to prove that they can do better that the common opinion is. Calculations should be different from this perspective, this is far more that just circuses to keep people happy in ancient Rome. Making people believe in themselves and gaining world trust is quite hard to estimate when you’d like to get a bill in dollars, yuans, euros or rubles.