The real thrill, the true awe of the Olympics is rarely transmitted through television screens. What you see on screen is not the same as what you see in real life. Because when you're standing next to a major turn in the Olympic bobsleigh run and a two-man bob speeds past you and you hear the blades slide along the frozen halfpipe and you think, "those two are Olympians"...well, I don't know what happens to other people but I get goosebumps.
With all the negative press coverage Sochi has received, I can image that those of you watching at home think of the host city as a third-world country - no hot water, no heating, god forbid no wi-fi! #firstworldproblems
Flip your perspective.
This city went from next-to-nothing to functioning host to the world. It doesn't matter if the guests' hotels are ready, Olympians representing countries all around the globe are here and the venues in which they'll compete, the competition areas in which their dreams will come true, are ready for them. In the end, we're here for sport and to watch the most athletically talented people in the universe demonstrate what happens when you sacrifice a whole lot for a passion.
When the Opening Ceremony starts tonight at 20.14, let's make sure we think of that...not all the struggles the city and the Organizing Committee have faced, but what they've accomplished. Let us be inspired by the athletes and the spectacular moments that we'll witness - moments that will perhaps remain engraved in our memories and protected in history books for years and years beyond all our lifetimes.
I find the Russians I've encountered to be friendly and helpful with mannerisms that we, my fellow Westeners, might consider stiff. English-speaking staff and employees are sparse here, so as you can imagine in a country where the language is not your own, I've experienced "sign language" conversations and iphone translator chit chats.
Languages do not divide people. People themselves pull away from others for fear of the unknown.
Maybe I've lucked out with my hotel room - I have hot water, heating and wi-fi, no cables or pipes seem to be uncovered and it's clean. What I find most impressive in Sochi is how something that progress is made everyday. Construction workers are working day and night to finish everything so from 11pm to 730am there's quite a bit getting down. Maybe it's guard rails that have been set up, buildings in the Olympic Park suddenly being completed or maybe mattress that were piled in the lobby one night have been moved to their respective rooms by daylight...small improvements though they might be, they are getting done.
I heard someone quoting a news article (that I could not find), saying the motto of the Games is patience.
That could be, but it think it should be perspective.