By Dave Sheinin February 8, 2014, 3:57
SOCHI, Russia — Suddenly, Saturday morning, there was something to do in this picturesque resort town besides compile gripes about unfinished hotel rooms. Suddenly, the venues of the 2014 Winter Olympics, the gleaming arenas along the Black Sea and the shimmering ski slopes of the Caucasus Mountains, filled with the sounds of skates scraping against ice and boots crunching on snow. Suddenly, and all through the day and night, snowsuited daredevils were flying off ramps, sequined pixies were spinning over ice and wooden sticks were slapping disks of vulcanized rubber past goalkeepers.
After so much talk of stray dogs, shower surveillance and toilet curiosities — not to mention terrorism and human-rights concerns — the attention turned, as it almost always does the day after the Opening Ceremonies, on the traditional first full day of competition, to the athletes and the games. Goodbye, #sochiproblems. Hello, #sochiolympians.
Well, actually, hold off on that goodbye.
By the end of Saturday, even as American snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg was coming out of nowhere to become the unlikely first gold medalist of the 2014 Games and ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White were putting the U.S. within medal range with a strong performance in the first-ever Olympic team ice skating competition, Sochi’s problems proved to be alive and well.
It wasn’t merely the occasional half-emtpy arenas or the latest figure-skating scoring controversy — the latter considered by Olympics connoisseurs, with tongue in cheek, to mark the true if unofficial start to any Winter Games — that defined the first full day of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s $50 billion extravaganza. There was also more bathroom humor.
I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil