The Curling News Blog

Sochi 2014: Spectator Training Program

“I think we under-trained for this”

by Mike McEwen

The author. Researching, of course.

SOCHI, RUSSIA –  That’s what Brent Laing muttered at one point. Spectator training, you say? After nearly two hours, a few wrong turns and some unexpected fences/blockades, we – the not-so-better halves of half of Team Jennifer Jones, aka Team Canada Women’s Curling at Sochi 2014 – finally pulled up to Canada Olympic House.

I laughed and replied: “I thought I only had to worry about being over-served!”

This was Day One (back on February 7) and we had planned on spending the evening at Canada Olympic House – the home-away-from-home for Canadian Olympic team members, their families and friends, Olympic sponsors and other proud Canucks – watching the opening ceremonies. Where else would you want to be?

Well, actually… within the Fisht Olympic Stadium would have been awesome, but it would also have been expensive, so drinking free beer at COH was a very good choice. Correction: free beer with servers delivering it to you – definitely a close second!

Later, after multiple navigational errors (usually blamed on me) we did have the walking route down to an hour and 15 minutes. Taking the bus cuts down total travel time to 60 minutes, but at least 30 of that is still pounding the pavement. The Olympic Park is massive… there’s just no easy way to avoid some kind of trek even once inside the screening area. As the crow flies it’s really only three-and-a-half kilometres from our hotel, but there’s a river in the way, and a whole lot of infrastructure and security stuff too.

However, it’s been warm here and it’s only getting nicer! In fact, sun and blue skies on the coast for the next few days is translating into highs close to 20 degrees celsius. Great for getting even more people outdoors, but I would imagine they are digging into their stockpile of snow up in the mountains!

Canada Olympic House. Where Mike sort of lives.

Now, once in awhile I have a brilliant idea (Brent may claim I stole this one from him) and today I just happened to stuff my sandals into my backpack. As much as the parents had made fun of me, I could tell they were now hiding their envy! Wow… did it feel good to let the “dogs” breathe!

The feet have taken quite a beating the last seven days. Averaging 10km-plus per day? That’s just a guess, but the final Olympic tally is going to be high! Most of the hours of the few days Brent and I had were spent on the pavement before the arrival of parents and family members of Team Canada. Attempting to describe the scope and size of the Sochi Winter Olympics and do it justice is really a tall task. It needs to be experienced… through the eyes and through the calves. Any foot massage parlors around here?

What’s next for us? Today was a busy one with two curling games for the girls – both victories! – and thanks to “The Pants” aka the Norwegian men’s curling team, we scored tickets to the late night Canada versus Norway men’s hockey game!

Tomorrow is a free day for most of us. A chance to check out more of the sights and maybe take a chance on some local cuisine? We’ll see on that one… I might be alone on that adventure!

Be sure to  check out my Twitter feed to see more, more and still more of our adventures here in Sochi. And if you’ve got any questions, requests or blog story ideas, feel free to tweet them directly to me or you can leave a “Comment” in the section below.

Thanks for tuning in for this adventure… more coming soon!

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6 Comments »

  1. Ed McEwen Said,

    February 13, 2014 @ 4:13 pm

    Great Blogs Mike and Dawn!

    4″ of blowing snow in Wpg last nite.
    Followed by power outage in the west end…
    Lasted a little over an hour.

    Sent you an email from phone because internet was out for
    2 hours this morning.

    Take care, have fun and keep up the great curling.

    Ed & Brew Dog

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  2. C_Hodgy Said,

    February 14, 2014 @ 3:30 am

    If I were you I would wear a path out in that pavement to Canada Olympic House…. Free beer served to you! Myyyy lord a reason alone to go to the Olympics.

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  3. Randy Said,

    February 14, 2014 @ 3:40 am

    Hi Mike… we met at Bistro 7 1/4 a while back.

    Nice job with the blog. Have you convinced Brent to curl in Manitoba next year?

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  4. Cathy Said,

    February 14, 2014 @ 3:16 pm

    I am so enjoying your tweets and this blog! Keep it coming. Curling is such a great sport! Who new that 2 guys who compete against each other are now on the ‘same team’ and having so much fun! Enjoy the rest of the games and go Team Jones go!!

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  5. Betty Said,

    February 14, 2014 @ 7:39 pm

    I’m so enjoying these Olympic Games. Glad for you and Brent to have someone to share this wonderful experience with. Best Wishes to the ladies on your upcoming games. You are certainly doing us proud. Thanks for all your hard work and enjoy this adventure. Go Canada Go.

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  6. Mike McEwen Said,

    February 18, 2014 @ 8:34 am

    Haha, thanks Randy! I think Brent is pretty firmly rooted in Ontario for now! Great restaurant by the way and owners love curling!

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