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Sunday, 9 February 2014

The Ultimate Test - Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics

Dear friends,

Friday evening the whole world had the chance to join in and watch the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. The day started beautifully with a fresh Google Doodle of the Olympics and a Quote from the Olympic Charter below - you can see a printscreen I took of it below. Officially it is the 22nd Winter Olympic Games and it also marks 100 years of the Olympic Flag. There will be a total of 98 events in 15 winter sports - it is more than obvious that Winter Olympics are shorter than the Summer ones ;) In preparation, organizers focused on modernizing the telecommunications, electric power, and transportation infrastructures of the region. While originally budgeted at US$12 billion, various factors caused the budget to expand to over US$51 billion, surpassing the estimated $44 billion cost of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing as the most expensive Olympics in history.
Sochi was elected on 4 July 2007 during the 119th International Olympic Committee (IOC) session held in Guatemala City, Guatemala, defeating bids from Salzburg, Austria, and Pyeongchang, South Korea.cThis will be the first time that the Russian Federation will host the Winter Olympics. The U.S.S.R. was the host of the 1980 Summer Olympics held in and around Moscow.
Printscreen of the Mascots Page on the Official Sochi WebPage
For the first time in Olympic history, a public vote was held to decide the mascots for the 2014 Winter Olympics; the 10 finalists, along with the results, were unveiled during live specials on Channel One. On 26 February 2011, the official mascots were unveiled, consisting of a polar bear, a European hare, and an Amur leopard. The initial rounds consisted of online voting among submissions, while the final round involved text messaging.

A satirical mascot known as Zoich (based on the "2014" lettering from the Sochi emblem, converted to cyrillic script), a fuzzy blue frog with hypnotic multi-coloured rings (sharing the colors of the Olympic rings) on his eyeballs and the Imperial Crown ("to remind about statehood and spirituality"), proved popular in initial rounds of online voting, and became a local internet meme among Russians (with some comparing it to Futurama's "Hypnotoad"). Despite its popularity, Zoich did not qualify for the final round of voting, with its creator, political cartoonist Egor Zhgun, claiming that organizers were refusing to respect public opinion. However, it was later revealed that the mascot was deliberately planted into the vote by organizers to help promote the online vote.
To show that we are all human and that things may go wrong, take a look at the picture above. During the Opening Ceremony - which, by the way, I think it is the first time I did not watch it live - one of the snowflakes that was supposed to thansform into a ring of the Olympic Games symbol malfunctioned... The second the team got that on camera they switched off the live transmission and places a shot from the rehearsals. You can see in the above screenshots actually that in the lower shot there are less people than in the first one, just seconds away. I bet the poor man/woman that was in charge of that is already fired and faces disgrace. I cannot remember a fail at the Olympics ever!
Anna Netrebko as Tatiana in Eugene Onegin
A great plus for me was all the classical music and the ballet :) It gets you glued to the screen... When I read on Friday that the Olympic Anthem will be sang by the magnificent lady called Anna Netrebko I was in awe! She is a wonderfully talented russian soprana - you can see her portrait in the above picture, playing Tatiana in the play Eugene Onegin.
The Sochi 2014 site is really nicely done and I love the colors and textures and the fonts they used. It is visually appealing and easy to navigate and choose the info you wanna read. Unfortunately I was so caught up with work this weeks that I did not get a change to check it again until Friday. I am a huge fan of Figure Skating/Ice Skating ever since I was a wee lass so I wanted to check when will I be able to see my personal fav, the wonderfully talented Evgheni Plushenko. To my horror and dismay I looked into the program and I saw that actually they already had a run before the Opening Ceremony! They started before Friday! :o
There was on the 6th of February, on Thursday, the Team Pairs Short Program but also the Team Men Short Program! I have missed Evgheni live! Thank God I still have one more chance this day, Sunday, at 19:00 Russian Time - which is more or less 4 pm Polish Time ;)
You must hand it to Evgheni that he is a strong willed athlete as this is his second comeback and he really wants that Olympic Medal more than ever. He is the oldest figure skater for Team Men but he is the best for me! 4 years ago he was cheated out of his Golden Olympic Medal and I really hope that this year he will have it. After the Short Program he is the second after Yuzuru Hanyu - from Japan - with a difference of 6.59 points. Of course he is teamed up with the best violin player our time has seen, Edvin Marton. I am seriously keeping my fingers crossed for Evgheni as he really deserves this!

** I did this post out of love for The Olympics, the sports, the Ice Skating, the athletes, for Evgheni and his wish tor the Olympic Medal. For the Russian land that has produced many beauties and even though my husband would contradict me, Russia will always be part of my heart with its stories and its literature, with its ballet and composers ;) **

Yours truly,
A LadyBug In Love With The Olympics