Olympic Life Day 1

First, thank you so much for the incredible support and words of encouragement. I have continued to receive numerous e-mails, Facebook messages and comments on this blog. I feel so lucky to have so many friends, family and supporters who care about me and want to see me achieve my goals.

Living in the Olympic Village is an incredible experience so far. Interestingly, it seems even the Sochi Olympic Organizing Committee has to abide by the International Olympic Committee’s rules against advertising for non-Olympic sponsors. Anything labeled with a brand in the village has been covered up, including the stove-top in our apartment.

Covered Brand on Sochi Olympic Village Apartment

We lost power in our unit for much of the day. We may have triggered it, as we were playing with the fuse box last night to turn the heater off because it is loud. We had a ton of different electricians in and out fixing it and now everything is working perfectly.

Sochi Olympic Fuse Box

The U.S. Olympic Committee recommends we not drink the water in the village because they have not been able to test it. This seems a little ridiculous to me because we travel all year long and drink the water everywhere we go including here last year for the test event. However, we would feel pretty silly if we drank the water and got sick after being warned against it, so we are sticking to bottled water for the duration. Consequently we are going through a lot of bottles. I feel bad about the environmental impact, but I’m not sure what to do about it.

Lots of Bottles in Sochi Olympic Village

At Olympic Processing on Monday I tried on race suits until I found one that fit. It wasn’t until I got dressed this morning that I realized I ended up with a women’s small. That seems a little embarrassing. Maybe I need to do some more leg strength.

Noah Hoffman's Women's Small Race Suit

It was a beautiful day to ski. I was a little slow getting my camera out, but here are the best two female skiers from the world, Therese Johaug (right) and Marit Bjørgen, both from Norway:

Marit Bjørgen and Therese Johaug Skiing in Sochi

The Sochi 2014 motto is Hot. Cool. Yours. I’m not sure what it means, but I kind of like it.

Sochi 2014 Motto, Hot. Cool Yours.

My coach Zach Caldwell is here on an industry credential because the U.S. Olympic Committee didn’t have a credential for him. Consequently he’s not staying in the Olympic Village. Instead he’s in a hotel at the base of the gondola. I met him at the top of the gondola this morning and we decided to walk to the stadium along the same route the spectators will take. There were signs motivating us along the way.

Spectator Motivational Sign in Sochi

I was glad for the encouragement.

Spectator Encouragement Sign in Sochi, Russia

I have to get used to spotting my teammates in our new outfits. I almost walked by our entire women’s team today. Here are Sophie Caldwell (left) and Sadie Bjornsen.

Sophie Caldwell and Sadie Bjornsen in Sochi, Russia

The waxing compound is a village of construction containers. It’s very nice and well done.

Sochi 2014 Olympic Wax Containers

There are information boards everywhere and everything is in English. It’s very convenient. The course maps are posted right outside our wax room.

Sochi 2014 Course Maps

Here is Kikkan Randall getting ready to ski.

Kikkan Randall in Sochi 2014 Olympic Jacket

And Canadian Ivan Babikov doing the same.

Ivan Babikov Heading to Ski in Sochi, Russia

Judging from the weather forecast, we better enjoy the nice days while they last.

Good to Bad Weather Forecast in Sochi, Russia

Here are the grandstand and press boxes from the back.

Sochi 2014 Grandstand from Back Cross Country

And here’s a look at the stadium:

Cross Country Stadium at 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi

Zach and I skate skied easy for 45 minutes then did a little double pole technique work. Here’s Zach:

Zach Caldwell Skating  in Sochi, Russia

The trails are like interstate highways. I don’t remember them being this wide for the test event last year.

Super Wide Olympic Trails in Sochi, Russia

It’s a good thing the tunnel is so wide because both mass start races go through it less than half a kilometer into the race.

Wide Tunnel in Sochi, Russia

Here’s Ida Sargent enjoying the beautiful day.

Ida Sargent Psyched in Sochi, Russia

I don’t generally put the same pictures on my Instagram account (@hoffnoah) as I do on my blog, but this one of the women’s team and their coaches was too good to pass up. (From left to right: Matt Whitcomb, Jessie Diggins, Sophie Caldwell, Sadie Bjornsen, Kikkan Randall, Liz Stephen, Ida Sargent and Erik Flora.)

U.S. Women's Team Cross Country in Sochi, Russia Olympics

There are giant Olympic Rings above the stadium. They weren’t there for the test event last year. They were very popular with the photographers and athletes.

Picture Taking of Olympic Rings in Sochi, Russia

I have to admit they’re pretty cool, so I got in on the picture-taking action.

Olympic Rings in Front of Mountains in Sochi, Russia

I was surprised to see all of the T.V. production equipment already in place, but then I had to remind myself the first race is in three days (the ladies’ 15 kilometer pursuit on Saturday) which means I race in four days.

T.V. Production Equipment in Sochi, Russia

Here is Norwegian sprinter Celine Brun-Lie skiing up the men’s sprint hill:

Celine Brun- Skiing in Sochi, Russia

Here are some of the Polish women classic skiing up the same hill:

Polish Women Classic Skiing up Sprint Hill in Sochi, Russia

The tracks are set for a sweet moving camera around the last bend in the stadium.

Moving Camera Tracks Around Last Bend of Olympic Stadium

The camera will follow the skiers all the way to the finish.

Camera Tracks Down Finishing Stretch in Olympic Stadium

It’s a pretty cool setup.

Moving Camera in Olympic Stadium in Sochi, Russia

Here is Canadian Alex Harvey crossing the finish line ahead of his teammate Lenny Valjas during training today.

Lenny Valjas and Alex Harvey Finishing Sprint in Sochi, Russia

Even more than World Championships, there are lots of nations represented here that you wouldn’t expect to be represented in cross country skiing in the Winter Olympics.

Obscure Nations at Cross Country Stadium in Sochi, Russia

Some of the countries I can’t immediately identify by their flag or their three letter abbreviation.

Hard to Identify Countries at Winter Olympics

The organizing committee has an incredible attention to detail and an ability to address problems. This sign was posted above the stairs down from the wax cabins:

Note to be careful of Stairs in Sochi, Russia

And sure enough these guys were out securing rubber mats on all the stairs:

Securing Rubber Mats on Wax Room Stairs in Sochi, Russia

It turns out we didn’t enter the Endurance Village via the main entrance yesterday. I found the front door today.

Main Entrance to Sochi Endurance Village

Even though we aren’t hanging our flags around the outside of our building (like many other nations have done), we’re still representing inside. Andy Newell hung his flag on our bedroom door within our apartment.

U.S. Flag in Sochi Olympic Village Apartment

There are lots of advertisements to athletes for opportunities that are available to us. I haven’t followed through on any yet.

Advertisement in Sochi for Olympic Athletes

I stuck to the Asian food section of the dining hall for lunch. It was delicious. The U.S. Olympic Committee dietitian recommended we eat one type of food for each meal instead of small portions of everything. It is a strategy to keep the food feeling fresh and tasting good. I had never thought of it before, but I think it’s a great strategy. I think I can use it at the buffets we travel to on the World Cup as well.

Asian Food from Olympic Village Cafeteria

Here are the flags surrounding the snow-making pond. I put a picture of these same flags at night in yesterday’s post.

Nation's Flags around Snow-Making Pond in Sochi, Russia Endurance Olympic Village

The Caucasus Mountains are stunning from here.

Caucasus Mountains from Sochi Olympic Village

There are cool ice sculptures outside the dining hall.

Sochi Endurance Village Ice Sculptures

There are three types of lodging in the village. There are the chalets where our ladies team is staying.

Sochi Olympic Endurance Village Chalets

There are the apartment buildings where we are staying.

Sochi Olympic Village Apartments

And there’s the hotel. I haven’t been in the hotel yet, but I assume it must be nice because the Norwegian Team and the host country are staying there.

Sochi Olympic Village Endurance Village Hotel

Last year there were very few places to run in the village. This year there are more options because there are more paved roads and more infrastructure in general. They also groomed a lap of the snow-making pond for walking and jogging.

Groomed Lap of Snowmaking Pond in Sochi, Russia Olympic Village

I had fun taking some artsy photos of the U.S. Flag in the long line of flags.

U.S. Flag in Sochi Olympic Village

I got a massage this afternoon. The USOC got new massage tables for the Games.

Custom USOC Massage Tables in Sochi, Russia

All body work (PT and massage) is in the ladies’ chalet. On the walk back I had fun watching the action at the village security checkpoint.

Sochi Olympic Endurance Village Security Checkpoint

99 thoughts on “Olympic Life Day 1

  1. Your blog has me so fired up I can barely sleep! (I dreamt I was organizing the opening ceremonies last night…), and thanks for the Olympic ring picture which is now my desktop image. Thank you so much for taking us with you. The American ski community is so proud of this team for the fact that any one of you can contend on any given day. Rest up and enjoy the experience (and the views!), and we look forward to seeing you on TV next week!

  2. Good Luck!! Thanks so much for keeping us in the loop. Please keep the posts coming as you find the time.

  3. Once again, your insider’s view of the Olympics and our sport is exceptional. The pictures are worth a thousand words and your words are priceless. The Russians and the IOC appear to have risen to the occasion. Enjoy every minute.

  4. Thank you for posting so many pictures, Noah. The Caucasus mountains are gorgeous and that’s pretty funny about the Norwegian and Russian teams. We’ll be cheering for you!

  5. Gary and Angelica, the XC skiers from Dominica, are really nice if you haven’t met them already.

  6. Reading your blog is a thousand times better than watching TV and reading articles. Very insightful. Thank you and be fast.

    • True, even for me! Thanks a lot for the blog. American press was very negative to Sochi. So many Russians woory about, but now I can see everything . Good luck!

  7. Hoff,
    The, the DMA is the Dominica Team. Had i been looking over your shoulder while you were posting this i wouldve mentioned it 😀

  8. Amazing blogging as always Noah! I see the Canadians also have new suits. Looks like a very cool (hot, yours) place to ski!

  9. We love the wide range of pictures that you post. The ski venue, the food, signs, people, buildings, I feel like I’m there walking around. Go USA

  10. Noah,
    Thanks for taking the time to give everyone an inside look at the Games. Your blog is not only informational but inspiring for many people all over the world. Thanks again for giving us a look in to what it’s like on the other side of the fence. I can’t wait for you to have the result we all know your capable of and that you have been building towards! Be safe, have fun, and ski fast !

  11. The sun seems to be so bright over there that I feel I need a pair of sunglasses even when watching it on my computer screen.

    The hotel is surely nice but I presume Norwegians and Russians are staying in it just because of the sheer size of their XC and biathlon teams. I believe you’re privileged to able to live in smaller units within the nice walking distance from dining areas.

    All the buildings look beautiful.

  12. I really enjoy your blog. It is a must read every day. Wish you the best of luck. The best scenario I can think of for the 50K is seeing you beating Petter Northug for the gold right at the finish line (and I am Norwegian).

  13. Noah,
    You made it! All of the hard work and the long hours talking on you cell phone while trying to stick a ski pole through the spokes of your bike tire on your way home have paid off! I hope you enjoy every minute and we will all be cheering for you.
    By the way, the fact that you fit into the women’s small outfit is probably the funniest thing you have ever posted, especially considering you probably need men’s XXL gloves.

    Good Luck!

  14. Good Luck Noah and Team USA!

    Loved reading your Day 1 blog. It’s great to have an insider’s view of the Olympics.

    Looking forward to more.

  15. Hi Noah!
    Considering drinking water – in Russia everybody who can afford it drink bottled water or use private purification modules. Tap water is, at best, heavily clorificated and/or can consist whatewer including metals and E.coli…:(
    As a result, here is water delivery services where one can order 10-20l clear water canisters with a tap.
    Organizers can probaby help with ordering. Price for 19l is 150-200 rubles ($5-7)
    Good luck for the races!

    • Bullshit.
      In most russian cities the water is completely safe. 99.99% of people simply boiling it before drinking. Buying bottled water are partially popular in big cities only.
      So, let me give you an advice – leave this stupid habit to speak on behalf the entire Russia.

      I’m personally a bit confused about motto – because in russian it have different meanin.
      “Жаркие. Зимние. Твои” can be translated much more like “Fervent. Wintery (-ish?). Yours”. Using the word “Cool” makes it sounds a bit… i dont know… amateurish maybe. Like slogan for games for youth.

      Anyway, good luck and have fun!

  16. Love your posts! Best of luck, will be ringing my cowbell from Durango! (Saw some pictures from news media, do not drink the tap water!)

  17. This is the next best thing to being there! Thank you Noah for taking us on a tour! Good luck!

  18. Good luck Noah Hoffman!!!
    I can’t wait to see you in the Olympics!

  19. Noah;

    Thanx so much for this blog! Love seeing the Olympics from the viewpoint of an athlete.

    Everyone here in Aspen and Snowmass are crazy excited about the “Aspen Olympic team.” Can’t wait to watch you all compete.

    Kick some butt!
    Agustin Goba

  20. Thank you for all the nice reporting from Sochi. Can’t wait for the Olympics to start and to see you ski!!

  21. Noah – GOOD LUCK to you and your teammates!! We love you! Love catching up with you on your fabulous blog!

  22. What a great adventure!!! You tell the “story” so well! And we thank you for it. Hoping you reach all your goals!!!

  23. Noah! I am not sure if you remember me, but I used to coach with Ali in Jackson Hole. I remember watching you many races ~ it is amazing to see how far you have come!! It has been so fun to look at this blog this season and get a behind the scene to your travels! Thanks so much for sharing, and I love all the pictures. My husband Ryan, 2 yr old Slade and I are rooting you all on from here in Durango. We are STOKED for you all!!! Experience of a lifetime!! Parke

  24. Noah, we are sending lots of love and good wishes to you! We are all thinking about you and so excited for you! You’re the best! GOOD LUCK!!
    Love, Tom, Amy, Sam, Livvy and Nellie

  25. Good luck from New England (Cambridge, MA to be exact) to you and the entire nordic team, Noah! Like every American that brings our country to this international stage, we know you all will make the 2014 Winter Olympics unforgettable. Go for GOLD!

  26. Will the Organizing Committee have inspirational signs posted along your race courses too??
    And where is the errant Norwegian ski wax van? Did they drive it to Sochi? Did they smuggle it up the Gondola somehow?
    We’re all tuned in—your blog was all the chatter in the backseat of my ski car pool today…keep it coming!


  28. Noah, Thank you so much for your wonderful blog. I feel really lucky to know you and your talents are far reaching! Myself and many other Aspenites are doing some major rooting for your success in the Olympic games.

  29. Noah, THANK YOU for posting all of these great photos! We are looking forward to the races. :))

  30. Good luck, Noah! We are so excited for you and the US team. I am so happy for you and what you have achieved. Ski fast and go for the GOLD! Thanks for the wonderful tour of your Olympic environs. Enjoy it all!!

  31. Consequently we are going through a lot of bottles. I feel bad about the environmental impact, but I’m not sure what to do about it.

    I think you can consider buying bottles of greater volume. 5L for instance ))

  32. Noah- OMG! You made it!. You are a popular guy today. Figured I may as well wish you great luck and a fabulous time too. It seems totally amazing so far and your sharing the experience is over the top. I was at Salt Lake for the games and Soldier hollow. The sport is obviously more popular there judging from the venue. Soak up every moment. Try those skis I sent to ZC and I will make you a pair if you like them…

  33. I’m so glad I found this! Fun to watch and support from your hometown. Go Noah! We love this pictures! Keep ’em coming:)

  34. Noah, we are so excited for you and love seeing the Olympics up close from your blog!! Enjoy every minute and GO GO GO!! So proud of you Aspen Kid!

    -Kropf family

  35. Enjoying your website, pics and comments. Good luck, and are we ever going to work on that biathlon training? 🙂 Anyway, I know your parents are very excited, as is everybody in the neighborhood. We can’t wait to see your medal.

  36. Hi Noah ! Great pictures, I guess you are giving the best and more reliable information about what it’s going on in the Olympic village. I was really concerned about the Russian organizers, in general they use to be careless about details and always delaying everything, I mean in general !
    Good luck, take care, drink bottled water and focus yourself for this Sunday, I guess will be a great day for you.

  37. Thank you for all of the time and effort you put into writing your blog. We love reading about your adventure and seeing your pictures. Good luck and Ski Fast!

  38. Love your blog. Thinking about you and all the USA team. Good luck to all of you. Will be watching and cheering you on!

  39. Your blog is super interesting. Thanks for sharing so us non-Olympians and non elite skiers get some insight. Good luck!! Go Team USA!!

  40. Really fun to get an insider’s view of Sochi and the nordic ski scene. Very inspiring! I love the starry leggings on the U.S. skiiers! Good luck to all of you!

  41. Love reading your blog–makes me feel like I’m right there. Hope you have a great event and do us proud!!

  42. Dear Noah – Best wishes to you and the entire Nordic Team!! Thanks for sharing such great photos and lots of smiles! Ski fast!
    PS – I will use the guide you posted earlier for your mother! It’s very helpful!

  43. Noah,

    We are another Eastern Mass. Bill Koch club family (with 9-year-old twins who have been on x-c skis since they were three) and wanted to let you know how much we’re enjoying following your blog, with its great photos and insights into the life of a World Cup and Olympic skier. I’ve been cross-country skiing for over 35 years (started learning to skate ski this year with our kids) and really appreciate the visibility you’re providing to this wonderful lifetime sport!

    Ski strong there in Sochi, and best of luck to you and your teammates!!

  44. Good Luck. This is a fantastic sport! Thanks for blogging about it and sharing the photos.
    2 of my boys are doing this on their HS team and love it!

  45. Fantastic posts Noah! Best of luck in the coming weeks… I’ll definitely be cheering for you all the way from Bergen, Norway!

  46. Enjoy the opening ceremonies and good luck to you and your teammates as competition starts! GO TEAM USA! Thanks for blogging and sharing great pictures!

  47. Noah, I am Mark Doughty’s Aunt-in-Law, if their is such a thing. Best of luck to you and all the team. We will be watching and cheering !!!!! Vicki Braun

  48. Wow! Thank you for your review and honesty!)) and all these cool photos!
    Good luck and have a light ski-track! ))

  49. Wishing you the best. Congratulations on being an Olympian. Great pictures. Good Luck.

  50. Good luck Noah! We’ll be watching and cheering for you from down under!

  51. Noah, you are giving NBC’s coverage a “run for the money”, so to speak. I think you have a future in photo journalism. This coverage is awesome. I so like your attention to detail. Keep up the good work and we are VERY PROUD OF YOU!!

  52. Noah, GL from Russia and thx for your review. Hope, you will enjoy Sochi and plz post more photoes and comments! 🙂

  53. Spasibo za interesnyj blog !

    Zhelaju horoshih rezultatov i prijatnyh vpechatlenij v olimpijskom Sochi!

  54. Спасибо за интересный обзор. Удачи в соревнованиях!

  55. I’m not certain the place you are getting your info, however great topic. I needs to spend some time studying much more or working out more. Thank you for great information I was searching for this information for my mission.

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