The countdown clock to the
Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games
|The Black Sea
from our hotel room
| Iceberg Skating Palace – the Olympic
venue for figure skating and speedskating
| The flags during the
ice dance medal ceremony
Happy December, everyone! After our first visit to the 2014 Olympic venue in Sochi, Russia, Charlie and I are glad to be back in the U.S. and gearing up for the holidays! Though we’re enjoying the sights and smells of the holiday season in the Midwest, much of our thoughts are still focused on our encouraging experience at the 2012 ISU Grand Prix Final of Figure Skating, and 2014 Olympic test event, in Sochi last week.
As is to be expected a year out from the Games, there is much work being done in Sochi. Everywhere one looks, buildings, roads and monuments dedicated to the XXII Olympic Winter Games are under construction. Luckily for us, the arena in which the figure skating and speedskating events are set to take place, ‘The Iceberg’ as it’s being called, appears to be among the first buildings to be completed. Having heard rumors of the building’s unique design, Charlie and I were eager to see the venue in person.
From its distinctive exterior to the quality of the ice, and even a surprise visit from President Putin for the free dance on Saturday evening, ‘The Iceberg’ did not disappoint. Still, what stands out most to me from our weeklong Sochi expedition—apart possibly from the striking views of the Caucasus Mountains and Black Sea—is the enthusiasm and dedication of the volunteers. With even the slightest inquiry or difficulty came an outpouring of keen assistance. Upon seeking aid with my ever-frustrating adaptor on our first afternoon in Sochi, one volunteer went so far as to put me on the phone with a friend of hers whose English skills could better help me understand the problem. Similarly the audience, as is always the case in Russia, was warm, welcoming and enthusiastic.
With a beautiful venue as well supportive crowds and volunteers, Charlie and I were thrilled to put out two performances we were proud of. Upon concluding the Grand Prix series, and concurrently the first half of the season, we feel as though we’re in a good place as we head towards the U.S. Championships, the Four Continents Championships, and onto the World Championships in March.
As we settle down at home for some rest and holiday cheer, we’d like to say ‘thank you’ for the continued support and wish everyone a happy holiday. May you be as fortunate to spend the holidays with loving families and friends as we are.
|Men’s champion Daisuke Takahashi,
Charlie, myself and ladies bronze
medalist Akiko Suzuki
| Charlie and me with our
coaches Marina Zueva and
| Me and Charlie after our
first practice in the Olympic venue
| Me and Charlie with the
Sochi Olympic mascots