See You In Sochi!

So here we come to it, the eve of the 2014 Winter Olympics. For me, that is. The event has dominated my screen for the last week but tomorrow I actually get to make the epic journey to Russia. All in, it’s about 20 hours from door to door so I’m equipped with my Kindle and camera, fully charged and ready to go. This is as big as it gets for winter sports and what a games we’ve had so far! From the gnarly tricks of the slopestyle to the precision and focus of the curling (which I’ve still not quite worked out) there’s been plenty of drama.

Hats off to Jenny Jones for Britain’s first ever medal on snow, and to Katie Summerhayes who came so very close in the freestyle skiing. Having a passion for the skinny skis, I’ve been focused on the cross country skiing and biathlon. Britain’s sprint hopeful, Andy Musgrave, did us proud in getting to the quarter finals. Andy, don’t be so hard on yourself, you’re still a hero! These are the people the next generation of British athletes will look to for inspiration and they’ve done us proud so far, showing that our green and rainy land can compete on the world stage against the more vertically endowed, snow-rich countries. Sure, there are plenty of other great athletes in the events to come but I’m bias toward those with skis or a board attached to their feet.

Right now, I’m a mix of nerves and occasionally-contained excitement. After checking the paperwork for perhaps the twelfth time, I decided it’s as good to go as it’s going to be. Confusing as the visa applications and transport plans were, I have to say the organisers have done an excellent job. The official website has loads of good advice so my head is spinning with bus and rail times, routes between venues, and what’s for breakfast on my floating hotel.

The Laura Cross Country and Biathlon Centre in Krasnaya Polyana will be the number one place in my world for the next few days. Look out for me by the Olympic rings on the last climb of the cross country circuit as that’s where I hope to be. Since the Brits aren’t realistically expected on the podium for the cross country relay or biathlon mass start races, I’ll pick some of my other favourites that I hope to get medals. For the ladies’ biathlon, it has to be Darya Domracheva. This will be no surprise to my Twitter followers, but hey, anyone with such beautiful technique deserves the support. For the men, it’s Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway. In the cross country relays, I’ll also be cheering for the Norwegians. Heia Norge! (At least I’m told that’s the right phrase)

Much as I’m travelling light, I packed a couple of essentials:

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Well, I have to show my support, even if there are no Brits in the races I get to see.

At the request of my illustrious (and patient) ski coach, I’ll try to keep this blog updated while I’m away. Word has it they have both electricity and the Internet in Russia, along with an Internet cafe in my hotel so my only excuse is if I’m too caught up in the spirit of the games.

Hope to check in again soon. In the meantime, watch the games, be inspired, try out a pair of skis (I’ll understand if you don’t fancy the skeleton).

 

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