Tuesday, February 11, 2014

"The first pancake is lumpy" and pictures of life in this "Russian village"

Harry How/Getty Images

Well, I competed in my very first Olympic race!  In the end, it wasn't my best performance and I was left feeling frustrated.  Biathlon can be a very fickle sport (I've probably overused the term "rollercoaster" by now to describe it).  But with one bad standing shooting stage, with three missed targets, I finished just out of the top-60 qualifying cutoff for the pursuit race, which happens tonight.  I have a curse when it comes to qualifying for pursuits.  I let myself be frustrated and bummed for a little while, but now I am forcing myself to stop replaying in my head exactly what I did wrong, and what I should have done differently. The race is over, and there were so many good parts of it!!   I was happy with how I skied--with my pacing and my technique.  My prone shooting--1 miss--wasn't too bad.  And then of course there was the fact that I was racing at the Olympics!!!  I have to pinch myself sometimes to remind myself where I am.  The atmosphere was awesome, and I didn't even really get nervous before the race--I was sort of nervous, but it was a happy, excited sort of nervous and it felt good.  The russian crowd was loud and festive, and before I had even started I got to watch one of my teammates, Susan, complete the best Olympic finish for a U.S. woman biathlete ever.  So though I am disappointed in my first race here, there is a whole lot to be happy about!  I read a quote from one of the Russian biathletes, Ekaterina Shumilova, who had fallen in the sprint and broken her rifle.  She said that there is a saying in Russian that "the first pancake is lumpy."  I thought that was brilliant.  I am really learning to appreciate Russian culture while I'm here!

The internet and news has been flooded with pictures of unfinished hotel rooms and other negative things about Sochi, but I have to say that up here in the Endurance Village everything is pretty darn nice.  Here's a little taste of life up here.

The walk from our chalet to dinner looks like this:  

This is our team's chalet.  Its very spacious and nice.  There's some odd/cheap construction on the inside, but I think thats how it goes in Russia!

The bed have quilts with the colorful patchwork "Sochi" design!

In the main community building where the dining hall is, there's also a huge arcade room.

And there's a nightclub/disco-tek!  I don't think its gotten much use yet...but maybe later in the games!

We've mostly had sunny weather so far, but sometimes fog rolls in at night, and the village looks pretty cool.  When its foggy, it never gets dark outside because the stadium lights are on all night and light the place up like its daytime.

The powerade has biathletes on it!!

The biathlon stadium is huge and beautiful, an the views are unbeatable, especially when we train during the sunset!

Gara is the wax tech that I work with.  He helps me test skis to make sure I have the fastest ones possible, and he and the other techs do all of our ski waxing.  They're great!  A-hoy Gara!  (A-hoy is how you say hi and bye in Czech). 

Jonne is the women's coach and Sean is our team psychologist.  They're both great!  Here they are in the range, watching our shooting and showing us where the shots went. 

I didn't get to go to opening ceremonies, but I dressed up in my funny outfit, complete with the big clunky boots and watched on tv with my teammates.  It looked like an amazing show!

Modeling our "ugly christmas sweater" opening ceremonies outfits!

Here I am with three of my teammates in the range.  We were really lucky to get support this year from the Women's Sports Foundation, so we took a picture with a sign for them!  


  1. Hey Hannah! This is Alice, Dick's cousin from NC. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. Ruth and Phil would be so proud of you. FYI: the socks you were given to wear during the opening ceremony were made in the county where I live. Here is an article about them:


    Wishing you the Best of Luck!!! Alice

    1. Thanks Alice, and good to hear from you!!
      Thanks for the link as well! Its pretty interesting what they went through for those outfits to be made in the USA. Say hi to all the NC cousins from me!

  2. How fun to find your blog and your pix from the Olympics! I had been thinking about you and how interesting I thought it was chatting to you last year at the Studio Center that you are a biathlete! Enjoy your time in Russia...hope you have some time for art too!

  3. Huge Congratulations on your race today, Hannah!