Monday, February 10, 2014

Exhaustion on the slopes Sochi-style

The women's cross-country skiathlon finish line. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images
When I saw this photograph at first on The Guardian website, I thought there had been a terrible tragedy. But no, it's just the aftermath of the Cross-country skiathlon.

It took a while to work out what that actually is - the Internet is awash at the moment with people who understand winter sports so the 'Snow for Dummies' sites have been pushed into the background.

Anyway, it turns out to get this exhausted all you have to do is race 15 km across the country, the first 7.5 using classical technique, and the remainder using free technique. They set up special boxes to change over the equipment which seems to be quite a complex undertaking.

The BBC sports pages (as always with big tournaments) came to the rescue then with words like gruelling and exhausting just in case you'd missed that from the bare descriptions. So the two techniques involved according to the Beeb are: 'classic, which involves skiing along pre-set parallel tracks, and freestyle, which closely resembles the motions of ice skating."

Considering how hard I've found it the few times I've just run in light snow, we will definitely be leaving this one to the experts.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Is Sochi ready for the Games?

Sports journalists who've reached Sochi in Russia for the Winter Olympics are having a few problems adjusting to the hotels there. The photos are amusing but the corrupt building practices behind them, not so funny.

Photos of journos pointing in consternation at falling curtains have been circulating on Twitter as they come to terms with staying in less than 5-star facilities. It's entertaining but very revealing considering it's been estimated that $51bn has been spent on these Games.  

These are some of the photos taken from Twitter accounts - follow the links underneath each if you feel like more updates:

This is the one hotel room have given us so far. Shambles.

Really? I mean if this is your biggest concern? To be fair Reekie later posted dramatic images of construction sites where hotels and sports facilities should be - for the Games that start on the 7th!  Like this one: 

Then you have this from Greg Wyshynski:

Greg Wyshynski ‏@wyshynski 19h
People have asked me what surprised me the most here in Sochi. It's this. Without question ... it's ... THIS.

This photo I thought was more than a bit mean, this is a typical occurrence in countries where the sewage system isn't the best - not much the Russians can do about this really in such a short time. 

Feb 3
Water restored, sorta. On the bright side, I now know what very dangerous face water looks like.

Now this is a worrying photo - that's the water coming out of the taps in St Clair's hotel room. Complete with warning from hotel staff re Not washing her face with it. 

 You can read the more here on the Washington Post.