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The Money Russia Spent on the Sochi Olympics in a Stack of $1 Bills

How much is the 51 billion dollars that Russia spent on the Olympics really?

One inch stack of dollar bills
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It has been reported that Russia spent over 51 billion dollars US on the Sochi Olympics that are going on right now. That’s the most that has ever been spent on Winter Olympic games. In fact, if the money spent on all of the Winter Olympic games prior to this one was added together it wouldn’t even equal what Russia just dished out.

But I have to wonder, how much money is 51 billion dollars really? What would 51 billion dollars look like if it was sitting right in front of me? What would it look like in a stack of $1 bills? Or a laid out like a carpet? Or assembled end to end?

The thickness of a single US dollar bill is .0043 inches. So that means that a stack of a hundred one dollar bills is a little less than half an inch, while a thousand dollars is 4.3 inches. A million US $1 bills? Well, that stack would stretch to the top of a 30 story building.

Now how far would all the money Russia spent on the “Olympics” go?

That stack of 51 billion $1 bills would rise 3,461 miles high. That’s over 14 times higher than the International Space Station. Now if that stack was to fall over, and it probably would, it would stretch all the way from New York City to London. Or if you happened to set it up in Beijing it could fall over and hit some poor sucker on the head in Jakarta. If you spread all that money out and arrange it like a carpet, it would cover 204 sq miles, and could just about blanket Guam. If you laid each bill out and put it together end to end, it would stretch for 4,942,228 miles, which is 197.5 times around the earth, or the distance to the moon and back ten times.

The one caveat here is that 51 billion dollars obviously did not go to some arenas, ski slopes, and a road.


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Filed under: Russia, Sports

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3722 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

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