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Russian women's curling team to put up fierce fight for medals

north Photo: RIA Novosti

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the north face sale The Russian women's curling team will be putting up a fierce fight for medals

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Ceremonies marking 100 days to the Sochi Olympics recently delighted visitors in Russia, European capitals and the United States. Just three months remain for athletes to get into top shape, for organizers to get everything ready in time and for sports fans to pack their suitcases and rehearse their chants.

On October 29, the Olympic clocks in Moscow and other Russian cities started their 100-day countdown to the Winter Games in Sochi. Number 101 on the clock face was replaced with 100 at exactly 20:14 symbolizing the year of Russia’s first Winter Olympics. Alexander Zhukov, head of the Russian Olympic Committee, says it will be a hard and nervous time for athletes.

"The Olympic winter season has in fact already begun with domestic and world championships being conducted in nearly all Olympic sports. It’s important that athletes get in peak form by the Sochi Games."

In Sochi, the Adler railway station with the Olympic emblem was unveiled on the 100th day preceding the Games’ opening ceremony. Neighboring Pyatigorsk launched a sports festival for fans.
Here’s what festival’s organizer Dmitry Gertsen had to say:

"There are special zones where people can come and compete in different sports, like streetball, football, parkour and breakdance. Also, there is an extreme-park with a rollerdrome and areas for skateboarding and longboarding. There will be fireworks displays and lots of other events followed by the award-giving ceremony and a concert”

The Central Bank issued commemorative 100-ruble Olympic banknotes with a cool vertical design showing a snowboarder in action.

Pavel Bushuyev, a student of the St. Petersburg Arts Academy and the banknote’s designer talked about his inspiration:

"At first I imagined him skiing down a slope, but then decided to show him mid jump. I had sifted through many photographs to get the image right,"

The last pre-Olympic gift from the Games’ organizers was tickets to Olympic sports events on sale at box offices. Before you could only get them online. About 60 percent of the tickets have already been sold.

 

The Sochi Olympic Torch Relay is traveling across the cities of Northern Russia. On October 28th, the Torch was taken to the city of Lomonosov, named after the Great Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov.

The Russian Royal Family used to stay there for no-doubt much needed R&R.

Lomonosov is the only suburb of St. Petersburg that the German Army chose not to destroy during the Second World War and the unique 18th century palace complex there has been included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

The Torch was then taken to what’s known as the “Russian Versailles”, - the Peterhof State Museum, one of the best known residences of Russian Emperors. On October 29th, the Olympic Flame made for the west, specifically for the Kaliningrad Region, where it was taken along the famous Curonian Spit.

This wonderful place is often referred to as a natural museum because of the diverse landscapes.

The next destination was the City of Kaliningrad, where the Flame travelled from the Brandenburg Gate, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, to the Friedland Gate to the City Cathedral and to Russia’s only Amber Musem.

On October 30th, the Torch set out for Murmansk, where it was taken to the monument to Saints Cyril and Methodius.

The Olympic Flame then travelled to the cities of Arkhangelsk and Severodvinsk.

The last destination of the weeklong route became was City of Syktyvkar(sik-tiv-kar), where the Flame arrived on November 2nd .

The Torch was taken past the traditional houses of the local Komi people all the way to the house-museum of the legendary Soviet Nordic Skiing Champion, Raissa Smetanina. The Flame is now heading for the Far North, for the Republic of Yakutia and the Magadan Region.

 

While it will be impossible for Russian athletes to win medals in all the sports and disciplines, each athlete is still set on winning. Andrei Drozdov, the captain of the Russian curling team is good example of this.

Women and men’s curling coexist in Russia as if they were in parallel universes. The women’s team became European champions in 2006 and 2013 and has taken part in the Olympics before. Their team members often pop up on the covers of magazines and TV. But it’s a totally different story for the men’s team. At only six years old, they made their debut at the European Championship and the World Championship in December 2010 and in March this year. Naturally things don’t always go smoothly on the first try though and they finished last, taking the 10th place.

Needless to say, the team has been working hard to avoid a repeat performance. Today, the Russian team is one of the top-ten curling teams in the world, but they’re still improving. Team capital Andrei Drozdov thinks they don’t get enough media coverage, especially compared to the women’s team.

“Many people ask why girls are constantly on TV and we’re not. That’s when I start telling the same story for the 30th time: they came to prominence a bit earlier and the competition in curling among men’s teams is fiercer. For instance, when we were at the World Championship in Canada, we were walking in the street and all of a sudden a guy pops up out of thin air and says: “Oh my God! It’s Drozdov, is it really you?” He rushed to me, started touching me and asking for my autograph. Honestly, I was stunned. How could it happen to me? Abroad? It never happened to me in Russia,”

As current European champion, the Russian women's curling team in Sochi are serious contenders for gold – something the men can only dream of for the moment.

But Andrei Drozdov says they’re ready to fight :

"I don’t understand the kind of people who say: "I don’t want to end up in the middle. I am going for the 5th place." What fifth place?! We are going to fight. FIGHT. We know that you can win with anyone. We’re all human. Everyone can make mistakes. You should strive. I always hoped that we will get lucky, we can play better. At least, I want that and I am trying to achieve that."

Drozdov’s curing history started with swimming, as strange as it sounds. He and three classmates started swimming class together. But the coaches told them that they’s never become professional swimmers.

That was when one of the boy’s mothers managed to share her love of curing with her son and his friends. They started training every day, spending 5 hours traveling to and from training sessions every single day.

Today it’s these same friends that make up the Russian national curling team.

Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee says:

“I really was inspired by visiting both the Ice Cube for wheelchair curling, particularly the sledge hockey – the Shaiba venue. It was fantastic. And if I had been a sledge hockey player or a wheelchair basketball player, I would wanna play straight away.”

 

Russia’s first Olympic Champion was Nikolai Panin-Kolomenkin.

During the 1908 London Olympics, Nikolai took part in free-skating along with the seven-time world champion and six-time European champion, the “King of Figure-Skaters”, Ulrich Salchow of Sweden.

Panin’s outstanding performance even set Salchow’s emotions running high; in fact, he was so emotional that the judges had to caution him several times. The Swede won because he had two compatriots on the panel of judges plus a Swiss judge, who was a close friend of his.

Salchow also planned on winning the special figures, but when he learned that he would have to compete against Panin again, he gave up the event. Prior to his performance, Panin showed the judges his drawings of the figures that he was going to perform.

The figures were so complicated that the judges refused to believe anyone could perform them at all. But the Russian skater’s execution of figures was so impeccably accurate that the amazed judges unanimously proclaimed him the winner.

 

The main gates of the Olympic Games in Sochi are open with the building of an ultra-modern railway station in Adler. In three months, it will receive tens of thousands of guests from all over the world. Rail transport will be the main means of transportation for the participants and guests of the 2014 Olympic Games.

 

Experts admit that the ultra-modern railway station in Adler is one of the most important transport facilities of pre-Olympic Sochi. The huge complex by the sea has impressed the most demanding inspectors. The opening ceremony was attended by two Presidents: the head of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. According to the Russian leader, the new station combines all kinds of transport in the region in a single transportation network.

“Sochi has received the real transport gate for the city itself, and for the entire region, and also for the future Olympics. This complex consolidates into one network all kinds of transportation: air, sea and road one, and, of course, railway transportation. That will certainly lower the acuteness of the problem that many people faced before. I’m talking about ease of access and comfortable transportation for all citizens of the country and guests of the upcoming Olympics. I’d like to note that the Adler railway station stands out with in its attention to detail and unique technical solutions: green corridor, innovations in the field of energy efficiency, high-quality provision of the so-called barrier-free environment. The station has a distinguished appearance and brilliant architectural features”.

The building looks like a huge wave of glass and concrete. The windows of the station open on a beautiful view of the Black Sea. The platforms are covered; there is a restaurant, a cosy terrace, a hotel and even a cinema. It is planned that during the Olympic Games, participants, guests and Sochi residents will primarily move around the city by rail. For example, high-speed trains from Sochi to the Olympic Park will depart every 10 minutes. In addition to that, road networks in the city have updated too.

New multilevel interchanges as well as tunnels and highways are being built one after another in the capital of the future Olympic Games. And it was not long ago that there was, in fact, only one highway along the sea in Sochi - the Resort Avenue (Kurortny Prospect) – that was constantly stuck in traffic. Alexander Adzyanov, official representative of the Directorate for Construction and Reconstruction of Roads Chernomorye says the new transport system will solve this problem once and for all.

“This road will take on the main traffic both during the Games and after them. Thus, we expect a radical improvement in the situation in Sochi. Kurortny Prospect’s relief road is a modern road. It is equipped with automated traffic management systems; weather conditions screens are installed there. In case of necessity or emergency, road users immediately receive information”.

Another important transport artery of Sochi is a combined motor road and rail road – and it’s almost ready, too. It will connect the coastal and mountain clusters. 48 kilometers of the road go through the mountains via 12 tunnels. To boot, 50 bridges are being erected along the new highway, among them - the first wire-bridge in the South of Russia. As a result, the road from the sea to the mountains will take only 30-40 minutes. This journey took more than an hour along the old road before.

So during the Olympic Games and, importantly, after them, Sochi’s transport system will work in a completely new way – one that will make life a lot more comfortable when travelling throughout the resort.

 

“My Russia” is an ethnographic park due to open in early January, about a month ahead of the Sochi Olympics. The park’sin the Krasnaya Polyana urban locality, a lovely place on the bank of the Mzytma mountain river.

Each of the seven mini-cities will represent a certain Russian region. For example, the “Caucasus” will have restaurants with traditional oriental cuisine; the “Kuban Region” will features Kurens, the Cossack houses; visitors to “Buryatia”, known to be a Buddhist republic, will enjoy scaled-down replicas of Buddhist monasteries.

Each pavilion will offer dishes of national cuisines of the peoples of Russia. National arts and crafts market will be located in the rows of shopping stalls that will look like the 18th century shopping arcades.

Anyone attending the Games will easily see to “My Russia” Park, which will be built in the immediate vicinity of the Rosa Khutor alpine centre.

 

Athletes, just like rich people, have their extravagances. Some of them like a fight, some distinguish themselves in skating styles, and some of them dawn a magic cloak. On the eve of the Olympics Games-2014, the Voice of Russia decided to remember some of the most interesting characters of Winter Games past.

The most famous Winter Olympian eccentric is American skier Bode Miller known for his complete rejection of ski technique and for his own unique style of skating. Bode skies the he wants, paying no attention to the distance between skis or to the position of his hands. Once, the American managed to come all the way to the finish on one ski! It happened at the World Championship in Bormio, Italy, in 2005. Back then, all the judges and commentators blasted his skiing style.

But this special style of skiing didn’t stop the athlete from becoming an Olympic champion in Vancouver in 2010 and winning plenty of other awards. He just doesn’t like the strict system. The most important thing for Bode Miller is his performance and the reaction of the audience:

“I don't really consider someone else's opinion as far as criticism is concerned. I don't care what everyone else is saying. I would like to show a colorful, spectacular performance that would inspire others and that would touch the hearts of the audience. I could even do without medals. For me, it would be an ideal Olympics”.

Norwegian skier Petter Northug shares the same indifference to the rules. At the world Championships in Oslo in 2011, he broke away from his rivals at the last stage, and suddenly stopped in front of Swede Marcus HEllner and crossed the finish line sideways. And then, in a live television broadcast he said: “Carl Gustav, do you hear me?!”

The phrase was addressed to 64-year-old king of Sweden Karl XVI Gustav. This little stunt by Northug was loved by the stadium but deeply offended the Swedes.

One of this country’s commentators said: “During the whole race he (Northug) was a wolf in sheeps clothing, and at the finish line – a pig”.

Euronews commentator Dmitry Kuzmin says you can find the most eccentric sportsmen among skiers:

“Such cases are very frequent, even if we do not take into account some moments that are not to the advantage of athletes. They try to distinguish themselves - outwardly or somehow other. They have original traditions, rites - before or after the finish. They are very quaint athletes in this regard”.

Ski-jumpers also love to show offtheir personality. Austrian Gregor SchlierenzAuer, the main favorite of the last years, loved to engage in open disputes with judges and to show his emotions, both positive and negative, in every way possible.

And here’s another curious fact. Schlierenzauer colleague Simon Amman has long been nicknamed “flying Harry Potter” for his resemblance to the young magician, which he accentuates with funny glasses and a raincoat.

Nikolai Yeremenko, author and editor-in-chief of the Comanda.com Internet portal, says it these types of athlete that make the competitions more interesting:

“We see that athletes are real, living, people, who have feelings, emotions, who also find themselves in extreme situations and can find a way out of them. This is not just a joke, this is the human face of the Olympics, which is not always seen. So, I am all for such curiosities”.

Very soon, in just in three months, we’ll be able to judge the athletes’ new extravagances. Almost all of the characters I mentioned, except Simon Amman, will head to the Olympics in Sochi ready to fight for medals. So we’ll be there, waiting to see what they have in store for us this time.

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