There’s been a lot to see and do the last few days! Since I don’t race again till the second to last day, I had enough of a break that I was able to spend a day with my parents and check out the Olympic Park down in Sochi (details on why this takes a whole day coming later in the post…) But first, we had some cheering to do for the Men’s 4x10km relay race! Our team was Andy and Erik (classic legs) then Noah and Simi (the skate legs). They skied a great race and it was also incredibly inspiring to watch Sweden, Russia and France ski such gutsy races to get onto the podium!
Of course, I was also very psyched that the boys let me put some patriotic face-paint on them for the relay. I think they made the flags look really good!
My parents brought up some cards from home, and between all the good-luck notes hanging above my bed and all the pictures I have on my computer, I am never short on support and encouraging words!
So, the travel down to the Olympic Park! I think if I did it again and knew exactly how to time it, I could maybe make it in 1.5 hours, but yesterday because of some confusion it took me 2.5 getting back home! I guess the only thing you can do is just be patient and accept that a.) things will take a long time b.) you will be told some wrong directions along the way and c.) eventually you’ll find someone who is more than happy to help you.
To get down to Sochi, I walked to the gondola at the top of the Endurance Village, then rode it down to the bottom where I had another walk along the side of the river to get to Krasnaya Polyana, the town at the bottom. Then I went through security to get to the train station, where I met my parents and took a train to Adler, the jumped on another train to get dropped off at the Olympic Park. Not a bad trip at all though, since I was with my family and had an opportunity to catch up with them! I was mostly just excited to be with my parents, but also getting to see the Park was something I was looking forward to and didn’t think I’d have a chance to do.
The park reminded me a lot of a theme park from Disney World. There was an elaborate entryway and the tickets were shiny with holographic stickers. Inside there were different buildings from all sorts of Olympic sponsors, with long lines to get in and see what they had to offer. And of course, people taking pictures right and left…myself included! I’m turning into such a tourist, complete with my credentials hanging around my neck at all times. Oh boy.
This was one of the buildings, and their station was ice climbing. I desperately wanted to try it out, but thought it wouldn’t be such a smart idea before the 30km race. However, it was cool to watch, and one of the women climbing as part of the show was really talented! She maneuvered her way around the hanging “ice” blocks while lead climbing, and it was pretty cool to watch.
Another interesting sight was the Russian House, where they showed ladies making traditional crafts; engraving tiny designs into metal and making fancy lace by hand. And of course, they also showed the painted Russian dolls!
There was also a part of the park with roller coasters, and I am so sad to say that they were not yet operational. But it looks like it’ll be quite a wild ride once they get going!
One of the biggest lines was to do this crazy thing with your face. They scanned your face and then later, on this huge screen, it showed up…in 3D. The faces would just push out of the wall and stare down the crowd. It was really cool but also extremely creepy to watch!
Pyeong Chang also had a house where they showed some of the culture of South Korea and their plans for hosting the next Olympics, in 2018. It was neat to check it out and get a sneak peek at the new race trails there.
One of the most famous sights in the Park…the Olympic Flame! It’s absolutely enormous, and when you get close you can hear the sound of fuel burning, the way a hot air balloon sounds.
I was so thankful to get to spend time with my parents and have the chance to check out the Park while I’m here!