It was 5:57 p.m. Swiss time and I was flying over the Black Sea, the lights of Sochi were in sight and I was overcome with a feeling of excitement that only an athlete knows. Dread is maybe too strong of a word, so is apprehension. I'll go with "sub-par enthusiasm" to describe what I was feeling before leaving. Yes, it sounds incredibly glamorous when I say "I'm going on a business trip to Sochi to cover the Olympic Winter Games." But I think most people underestimate the amount of work that goes into this business trip.
It's possible I took the news reports too seriously and had a bitter taste in my mouth because of all the hot topics and issues surrounding the Games.
Needless to say, leaving home was tough this time around.
But all those feelings, preconceptions, doubts and pessimistic outlooks seemed to slowly dissolve as we made our decent. I'm passionate about sport, and I'm passionate about culture and the Games bring those two worlds together on a remarkable stage. Yes there are issues here and there, but when I think of what every athlete thought as they landed in Sochi... well, it nearly brings tears to my eyes.
To think of the sacrifices each of them made, and the pride they must feel to represent their country, and the all the dedication and ambition they've demonstrated; to think of how very close they all are to making history and, probably more importantly, making their dreams come true. Ah! Inspiring doesn't even begin to cover it!!
So while I'll be tired after long days, and my fingers will be weary from writing press releases and posts for 12 straight hours, you can sure as hell know that I'll appreciate every damn moment in Sochi and if I come back with anything at all at the end of February it will be a solid gold medal in "not taking things for granted."