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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
The Sochi 2014 motto is Hot. Cool. Yours. I’m not sure what it means, but I kind of like it.
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.
I was glad for the encouragement.
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.
The waxing compound is a village of construction containers. It’s very nice and well done.
There are information boards everywhere and everything is in English. It’s very convenient. The course maps are posted right outside our wax room.
Here is Kikkan Randall getting ready to ski.
And Canadian Ivan Babikov doing the same.
Judging from the weather forecast, we better enjoy the nice days while they last.
Here are the grandstand and press boxes from the back.
And here’s a look at the stadium:
Zach and I skate skied easy for 45 minutes then did a little double pole technique work. Here’s Zach:
The trails are like interstate highways. I don’t remember them being this wide for the test event last year.
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.
Here’s Ida Sargent enjoying the beautiful day.
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.)
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.
I have to admit they’re pretty cool, so I got in on the picture-taking action.
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.
Here is Norwegian sprinter Celine Brun-Lie skiing up the men’s sprint hill:
Here are some of the Polish women classic skiing up the same hill:
The tracks are set for a sweet moving camera around the last bend in the stadium.
The camera will follow the skiers all the way to the finish.
It’s a pretty cool setup.
Here is Canadian Alex Harvey crossing the finish line ahead of his teammate Lenny Valjas during training today.
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.
Some of the countries I can’t immediately identify by their flag or their three letter abbreviation.
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:
And sure enough these guys were out securing rubber mats on all the stairs:
It turns out we didn’t enter the Endurance Village via the main entrance yesterday. I found the front door today.
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.
There are lots of advertisements to athletes for opportunities that are available to us. I haven’t followed through on any yet.
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.
Here are the flags surrounding the snow-making pond. I put a picture of these same flags at night in yesterday’s post.
The Caucasus Mountains are stunning from here.
There are cool ice sculptures outside the dining hall.
There are three types of lodging in the village. There are the chalets where our ladies team is staying.
There are the apartment buildings where we are staying.
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.
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.
I had fun taking some artsy photos of the U.S. Flag in the long line of flags.
I got a massage this afternoon. The USOC got new massage tables for the Games.
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.