Monday, February 24, 2014

Olympic Wrap-Up

24.II.14
Kristen says...

I love the Olympics. Love love LOVE them!
It has been hard to choose between these two awesome bags! (The left was a gift from Chris' grandmother, the right was my backpack from 2nd to 6th grade!)
It has been really awesome to be in the country that is hosting the Olympics again (even if I'm actually geographically farther from the games than my family in the States). There is really just something special about being around the "home team."

Of course, it was also a little different, since the past two times (Atlanta 1996 and Salt Lake City 2002) were in my home country, so I could unabashadly love everything about them, because they were, you know, in my country.

Still, it has been really neat to see the Russian reaction to the Sochi games. We watched the Opening Ceremonies with other Americans, but each working day of the games I turned on the NBC broadcast over the lunch hour at the Consulate (one of the advantages of being 17 hours ahead!!) and spent a lot of time enjoying the games with the added Russian perspective.

We had a nice time congratulating each other when competitions were won, and consoling each other when things didn't go our way. (It was especially sad when I was watching the withdrawal and subsequent retirement of figure skater Evgeni Plushenko (pron. PLUshenko, I've been told multiple times--emphasis on the PLU) with my Russian colleagues. It was very interesting to see the range of emotions from sadness to anger about that particular event.)

Chris also got to experience something really cool last Saturday night when Russia and the US faced off in the hockey game. We are 7 hours ahead of Sochi, so the game was going to start at 11:30 pm Vladivostok time. Hockey is, as you might have heard, kind of a big deal in Russia, and so clearly everyone was going to stay up and watch this game...so the local movie theaters and hockey arena made a very smart fiscal decision and sold tickets to people who wanted to watch the game on the big screen!

Chris and some of our colleagues got tickets to the game's presentation at the brand new, really nice ice hockey arena and had an interesting evening watching the game surrounded by excited Russian hockey fans.
 Before the game the arena was opened for those who wanted to ice skate:
 And then the game began:

So that was pretty cool!
 I didn't go for many reasons, one of which was that I'd come home from work the day before with horrible headache (and I didn't think an 11:30 pm hockey game would help that), and another was that I find hockey exceptionally boring. (In the spectrum of sports, hockey ranks slightly higher than soccer and just below basketball and baseball...American Football, swimming, track and field and figure skating, of course, are nearest the top...)

Still, I've watched my fair share of the Olympics...and done a bit of Sochi shopping...
So cool! This is a very popular item here in Vlad, I'm quite happy I found one before they were sold out! :)
So, just like the Sochi Bear Mascot, I'm shedding some (mental) tears at the end of the Olympics, but looking forward to August 5, 2016, for the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics in Rio! :)

And, as always, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that some day, somehow, Chris and I will actually attend the Olympic games...That is my Olympic dream! :)

KF

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