Countdown to Winter Games in Sochi is on!! Opening Ceremony Friday
If you've read this blog before, you know how we've referenced the site of this month's Olympic Winter Games.
Sochi, Russia flies in the face of the stereotypical view that the county is land-locked tundra, where winter never ends. When people see THIS Russia, they will surely understand that a moderate form of winter does exist, while still allowing skiers and riders to have superlative conditions.
Sochi, on the Black Sea, is referred to as the Russian Riviera. People swim there in November. But an hour away in the Caucasus Mountains, the high elevation snow is plentiful as are the lifts in what government leaders hope will be a thriving resort after the Games.
I arrived in Sochi Monday night. Between the volunteer assistance that I received in Moscow in the afternoon, and then in Sochi/Adler on the coast later that night, I was impressed that this nation is truly ready to welcome the world.
SOCOG (Sochi Organizing Committee for the Olympic Winter Games) has gathered a fleet of enthusiastic, cheerful and willing helpers to be the face of their effort. They could not have been happier or more helpful in ushering us through the processes of luggage transfers, Olympic accreditation, and the heaping layers of security checks mandated by the times that are now upon us.
As impressed as we were, we are at the Winter Olympics, so after all, surely there must be something negative happening. Ironically as I blog for a Four Diamond resort that has a strong connection to the Games, those issues have occurred in lodging where of the nine media hotels that were built, only six were open when I got here. The other three were scrambling to welcome guests today and tomorrow. One of the three, ignominiously, had its story placed in the New York Times. It's grounds were fronted by construction dirt.
But the Games do and will go on, and activity is occurring on all venues leading up to Friday's Opening Ceremony. American skiers and riders have been gushing in their descriptions of the snow conditions above Rosa Khutor. Luge racers were greeted Tuesday in Krasnaya Polyana by sunny, clear and cool weather that created hard, fast ice. Perfect!
Freestyle skiers are counting down the hours to Thursday's qualifications in the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
Then there's Friday's Opening Ceremony (night time here in Sochi; morning in the US). No word yet on what the program will look like, nor do we know who will carry the US flag.
One thing we do know, however. Like the rest of these $51 billion Games, it'll be spectacular and no expense will have been spared.
Top photo: Finish line of luge, bobsled and skeleton races