Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics: A Photo Essay
I had never been to the Winter Olympics before which I presume not that many have in the general scheme of things. The Sochi 2014 Olympic Games in Russia were great and although you may think the whole thing was a disaster from western media the opposite was the case. The games were good, the transport were good, the atmosphere and volunteers were very energetic and jovial and it all ran without a hitch really. Well, except a ring not lighting on the opening ceremony and it being warm for a few days. Not big problems. The heat was actually great for us but not so for the skiers. Rather than trying to use my lack of prose to explain the spectacle and the atmosphere I will instead give a photo essay of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and let the pictures do the talking.
Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics – The Build-Up
All roads lead to the Olympics and even if you didn’t have a ticket to an event it was worth being there for the atmosphere and the events
Everybody was getting into the swing of things and my guess was that 90% of people were Russian so if there was a Russian in your event then the noise levels really escalated. The Russians really got into the swing of things with everybody having flags, official hats, gloves, basically anything associated with the Winter Olympics. The queues were very lengthy for the official shops.
The makers of the Russian teams clothes were made by Bosco. For us Irish people Bosco has a special place in our hearts and childhood as he was a red cheeked puppet we all grew up with. ‘Hello boys and girls!’
All the events and stadiums were top class even though the skiing resorts were temporary. There were queues at peak times but using your head and went 1 minute earlier got you out of that.
Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics – The Mountains
But of course the whole reason I was in Sochi 2014 was to watch some winter sports. In fact I had never been at a winter sports event at all before. I have skied several times and did go on my ass down a hill when it snowed in Ireland but never a competitive event on snow. My first port of call was the women’s downhill event which was a cracker and ended up with two gold’s being given for the first time and no silver! Tina Maze after a poor season was overjoyed with gold which she shared with Dominique Gisin. The downhill is the fastest of all the skiing events where the athletes get up to 130km/hr (81mph). Using a GPS watch I have an idea of how fast I have gone and if any regular skier goes half that speed is bombing it.
The other event I went to in the mountains was probably the best and definitely the most spectacular. The men’s freestyle slopestyle event and was making its debut at the Olympics in Sochi. There are rails at the top and then some huge jumps at the air where 1080 degree turns, 60ft in the air are not uncommon. All the guys doing it are young and seem very relaxed as if they were just out with a few buddies messing around even though the jumps must take years to master.
Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics – Olympic Park
On I went then to the big daddy of the Olympic Park. And yes it was huge and spectacular. The walk from the train station to the flame was about 15min but there was so much going on that you didn’t really notice it (unless you were in a rush!). The flame was the centre piece and the 6 stadiums surrounded it.
The stadiums weren’t too bad either
Some of the other events I went to were in the Olympic Park such as the women’s ice-hockey of the grudge match of Canada Vs USA which ended up being the final on the same score line of 3-2. Lots of late hits and agro in the women’s game! Also the speed skating was good craic with crashes, bumps and chaos to entertain us. The Russians won their heat in the men’s relay and I thought my ears would burst with the noise.
The last event we managed was the vicious sport (??) of curling. Some athletes! Three games at once beside each other with it being very tactical. They Norwegians brightened up our day with their pants! We saw the eventual winners Canada on show and people in the know were giving out that they went to the gym to train for the sweeping! What other athletes would get given out to for going to the gym! The Norwegians brightened everybody’s day with their pants!
Finally of course there was the medal ceremony which took place every evening in Olympic Park to celebrate the winning athletes of the day including the German lollipop Natalie Geisenberger who won the luge. Some countries definitely had questionable uniforms
And of course there was entertainment in the park. Traditional, rock bands, rap all mixed in with the usual silly entertainment on stilts.