BY TIM BURKE
We finally arrived in Sochi Sunday night after a smooth travel from Munich. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised with the logistics arriving in Russia. Even the rifle processing was quick and uneventful, which is not always the case!
During the Games we will be staying right next to the competition venue in the Endurance Village. Only the biathletes and cross-country skiers will stay in the Endurance Village, so it definitely has a much smaller feel than Torino or Vancouver. Our accommodations here are perfect. Our team has an entire chalet to ourselves that has plenty of room for everyone. Our spacious living quarters are especially important considering that we will be here for nearly three weeks.
After arriving in the dark yesterday, it was great to wake up this morning to a perfect blue sky and picturesque mountain views. This is clearly one of the prettiest venues in the world. We had the morning off from training so we took the opportunity to explore around and get to know the village a little more. I was stunned with the work they accomplished since we were here last March. The village transformed from a construction site to an idyllic mountain resort. At first we were a little nervous about getting bored up here on the mountain for three weeks but after seeing the entire village today, I don't think that will be a problem. The village is complete with swimming pools, a game room, stores, post office, bank and even a beauty salon.
My lead-up to the Olympic Winter Games this year has definitely been unique. After a solid start to the world cup season and a great holiday training camp, I simply struggled. I definitely had some poor performances but I also struggled a lot with my health in the past few weeks. Directly after the Oberhof World Cup I came down with a stomach virus. After that, I came down with a cold at the Antholz World Cup, which eventually turned into a sinus infection during our pre-Olympic training camp. This was definitely not the preparation that I had envisioned but there is nothing I can do to change that at this point. As my coach Per says, “I will be drawing on my training not only from the past few weeks but also from the last 10 years for this Olympics.” At least I can guarantee that I have never been so rested heading into a major championships!
I can't write an Olympic blog without giving a big shout out and thank you to all of my supporters. I don't want to name anyone specifically because I know that I am bound to forget someone. This group goes far beyond my family, team and sponsors; it also includes my entire community at home and all of the fans that have supported me along the way. Anyone who has followed my career knows it has been one of ups and downs. Coming back from those low points would not have been possible without everyone’s support! I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity to compete in the Olympics, representing my country, family, team and supporters. No matter the outcome of these Games, I know that I will have the backing of all of my supporters and this is perhaps the biggest advantage that I have. Thanks!