Saturday, February 15, 2014

From the Dorm to Lake Placid to Sochi


This article appears in The Huffington Post:

I like your hat, Bill offered mischievously to the middle-aged Russian man.
The man kept walking with a deliberate gait.
Trade you my Vikings football cap, Bill tries, with the tact of a paparazzo in the Olympic Village.
The Russian gentleman stopped and looked at Bill. Then at me, wrapped in a parka the size of the Hindenburg.
Nyet, the man delivered stoic faced, as he disappeared amidst the snow flurries.
This was the beginning of my trip to Lake Placid. It was a safe bet that Bill and I were not destined to be good will ambassadors for these Games.
We left for Lake Placid from our Binghamton University dormitory at 2:00 a.m., to a mock chorus of God Bless America from the less than enlightened frat boys. About forty pioneers boarded a charter bus for the one day, 14-hour roundtrip journey from Vestal, New York. As we pulled away from campus, my thoughts wandered back to Franz Klammer's downhill run in 1976 at Innsbruck, and to the ice-cold keg of beer in the back of bus -- courtesy of those more than enlightened frat boys.
Headline - Monday, February 18, 1980 - Bus waits may last throughout Games
For the sixth day in a row, spectators were forced to wait for more than an hour-and-a-half at some venues sites.
Headline - Many treated for frostbite
(UPI) A bitter wind from the Northwest ... plunged the 'chill factor' to minus 40 (F and C).
When the bus arrived at 9:00a.m., the first thing I wanted to do was see the Olympic torch and get in touch with all the good that it represents. The silver cauldron was perched about 100 feet above the snowdrifts. The base of the structure was a very unassuming platform from which the torch was first lit. After the lighting, the cauldron traveled up to its resting place along a track supported by two thin white beams, one on each side of the track. Access to the torch was permitted, as Bill took a picture of me on the platform. I posed with both arms raised in victory celebration form.

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