Ready, Set…Wait, I Can’t See Where I’m Skiing!

Last day at the Olympics today so this should be my last update before getting home since tomorrow is all travelling.

Yesterday was all about the atmosphere. The noise when Legkov took second place for Russia in the men’s cross country skiing relay was something to behold. It was matched only by the silence when Vlegzhanin lost it to France on the next leg. Still, the Russian dug deep and took silver back for the host nation. There were some celebrations on the way down to Krasnaya Polyana after that race.

The evening promised the biathlon, the men’s 15km mass start. Biathlon, it appears, is a who different beast to the very dignified affair that is cross country skiing. Let’s say the “characters” come out. The atmosphere in the stadium was exceptional. Pre-race, we had music, cheerleaders, parkour and many singing Norwegians.

Then the fog came.

It’s like someone flicked a switch and visibility went from miles to feet. By the start of the race, I could barely make out the track from the grandstand, never mind the poor athletes who were supposed to hit targets in it. Well, we (myself, Dmitry, and the dancing girls on my other side) hung around for a while until they announced that they had postponed the race. Still, Ole Einar Bjorndalen did a ski-by for us and gave the fans a wave.

They rescheduled for a 10am start today but logistically, there was no chance I was making that, not from Sochi Seaport, so I wrote it off as a lost cause. Instead, I’m about to explore some of the other Olympic sites, depending on what they’ll let me in to without an event ticket. The extra sleep helped no end, too. So far it’s been all early mornings and late nights, or not sleeping at all and powering through the next day.

Fingers crossed, the women’s biathlon mass start will go ahead tonight. Sochi is a wet and cloudy place this morning but then the Laura biathlon stadium is far away.

In other news, I spotted some Brits at the biathlon last night! I was too deep in the grandstand to get to speak to them but the sight of another Union Jack surprised my Russian neighbours and brought a smile to my face.

So here’s me signing off. Hopefully I’ve given you an idea of what it’s like to be at the games. In all, it’s been a full-on experience. Volunteers are absolutely everywhere and most speak enough English to help you get by. The Russian people have all been very welcoming. I even spent yesterday’s cross country race with one who spoke less English than I do Russian and we got along famously.

Enjoy the rest of the games!

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