Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 10:06 am
Olympic competition began under gorgeous blue skies Thursday in Sochi, with snowboarders soaring in a new event for the games — slopestyle. Boarders performed the remarkable tricks and twists that make slopestyle a thrill to watch. American Chas Guldemond placed fifth in the first heat, qualifying him for Saturday's semifinals.
Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 10:45 am
It is fitting that the Winter Olympics, one of the world's fiercest competitions, is taking place amid the breathtaking beauty of the Caucasus.
For centuries, Russia's greatest writers have been inspired by this volatile region full of not only immense natural beauty but also human misery. No matter how or why these writers came to the area, they found a land full of possibility and pain, rich in beauty, yet rife with violence: in short, a concentrated microcosm of the contradictions of life itself.
Heading into the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, there were many predictions of trouble — possible terrorism, incomplete construction, unsold tickets and not enough snow. Well, you can take that last item off the list.
Skiers zip by on a practice run at the Rosa Khutor alpine ski course in Russia with not a cloud in the sky above them. You can't hear the skis, though, because there's a snow-making machine blasting water into the cool, dry air. It mists down onto the ground below in fine ice particles: man-made snow.
Thousands of athletes and journalists have already converged on the city along the coast of the Black Sea, and spectators will be streaming in this week. But ahead of the games, the real race is to see if all the last-minute preparations can be completed in time.
Ask locals to describe the landscape in the tiny town of Stockholm, up near the tip of northern Maine, and more than one will call it a winter wonderland. Woods dot the landscape of rolling white fields, and snow-covered spruce trees nestle roadways.
Winter is a long season, and you've got to find something fun to make it through — like skiing.
Graffiti covers a vent adjacent to the Athens Olympic Stadium in this photo from Feb. 18, 2012. Expenditures on the 2004 Athens Summer Games contributed to the country's debt load, which sparked the current economic crisis.
Credit Oli Scarff / Getty Images
A worker walks past the Olympic torch and the Bolshoy Ice Dome in the Olympic Park as preparations continue Thursday ahead of the Sochi Winter Games. Russia has spent $50 billion on the 2014 games — the most expensive in history.
Credit Pavel Golovkin / AP
Visitors walk through Westfield Shopping Centre, near London's Olympic Park, on Aug. 1, 2012. The area continues to thrive economically — at least for now.
Credit AFP/Getty Images
Cranes sit idle at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Stadium in London on Nov. 11, 2013. Weather delayed work to transform it into a year-round multi-use venue, the home of West Ham United Football Club and the new national competition stadium for UK Athletics.
Credit Nick Ansell / PA Photos/Landov
The canoe and kayak stadium used during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens (shown here on June 11, 2012) has fallen into disrepair.
For more than a decade, ski jumper Lindsey Van dreamed of making the U.S. Olympic team, but one thing held her back: Female ski jumpers weren't allowed to compete. Until this year.
This month, the 29-year-old from Park City, Utah, will be one of the athletes competing at the Olympics on the U.S. women's ski jumping team. For Van, that competition marks the end of a very long road.
"Honestly, I don't really have words for it," she said at a press conference announcing the team. "I'm just completely overwhelmed and happy to be representing my sport."