Sochi – February 22 – The quiet seaside cafe

M/W Speed skating team pursuit

A group of Georgians tried to kill us. Not with violence though, but with love. Vodka love. Yesterday was a bit of a slow day for sports, so Sean and I took a stroll through the small town of Adler. Adler is actually where most of the Olympics is taking place. The gigantic Olympic Park is in Adler, the airport is in Adler, the main train station is in Adler. Absolutely zero % of the Sochi Olympics is happening in Sochi – it’s all going down in Adler.

We nestled into a seaside cafe to have a beer. There were about a dozen people in this cafe, and we were clearly outsiders. Not because we were Canadian, but because we were not drinking hard alcohol in mass quantities like everyone else. And they noticed. And they corrected this “issue” by sending double shots of vodka our way. We were overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness by this fun-loving group of Georgians and Russians. Sean and I are not really big drinkers, so we had a conundrum on our hands. If we shot the vodka drinks like the locals, then they would immediately refill our glasses. How do we pace ourselves and not be rude? It was a futile battle that we lost, big time.

Several hours later we were in a taxi driving rapidly towards Olympic Park trying to reach our speed skating event. The cab ride and the rest of the night was a blur.

No medals, but a few new friends.

– Nick

Sochi – February 20 – double gold

W Hockey Final – Canada vs. USA

With local Sochi temperatures hovering around 18 degrees celsius, we started our day with a little suntanning on the deck of our cruise ship. Following this we departed the Black Sea for our daily routine trek to Olympic park, which includes a 3km walk to the train station, a subsequent 10 minute train ride and then another 2 km walk across Olympic park, all just to get to a location that is approximately 500 meters from where we are docked – annoying!

Upon arrival at Olympic Park we attended a VIP reception put on by Canadian Tire and settled into Canada Olympic House, with a packed crowd including some unexpected Dutch and German speedskating visitors, to watch Jennifer Jones skip our ladies to golden victory.

Then it was off to the main event. The highly anticipated (and expected) Gold Medal final with the US Women’s Hockey team. Well you all know what happened there, but our group attributes the win to a lone Canadian woman, not Jenner, Szabados, or even Poulin (although they had a great deal to do with it) but a single fan from BC. At the end of the 2nd period and trailing 2-0, a new fan arrived in our section with unparalleled energy and enthusiasm. She called upon the Canadian crowd to ‘believe Canada believe’ and even turned a local hockey chant “Shaybu” into a hometown version “Shaybu Canada”. This enthusiasm began to spread and before you knew it an entire rink, including the Russians, were chanting our women onto victory!

Post event and celebration, it occurred to the boys that the ship’s buffet closes at 2am. A 45 minute race, including a final 500m sprint, had us up there for 1:58am, and in time for a very late well deserved dinner.

All in all, a Double Gold day!

– Sean

Sochi – February 19 – Men’s hockey QF day

M hockey QF – Canada vs. Latvia

We feel that a whimsical game like Canada vs. Latvia requires whimsical attire. Look for the Falcons wearing the powder blues today.

(post-game edit)

That wasn’t whimsical at all! After the Russians lost their QF to Finland, the mood at Olympic Park completely changed. The crowd was extremely pro-Latvia, but thankfully, Team Canada pulled it off.

The day started with a USA vs. Canada ball hockey game in front of the USA and Canada houses. Gary Bettman dropped the faceoff “puck” and longtime NHL official Terry Gregson officiated the game. It ended in a hard-fought 5-5 tie.

We started the day in current edition Team Canada hockey jerseys. The Canada House gift shop let us store the powder blue blazers until it was time to change into them for the evenings hockey game. Seeing Kerry retrieve our blazers from the gift shop (photo below) was a great moment.