Monday, February 24, 2014

Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Olympics

Day 16 is last day and the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Olympics, 23 Feb 14 Sunday:

It is the final day of competition at the Sochi Olympics.  And the last day proved glorious for the host nation and some of the very last athletes to compete on this final day.

In four man bobsled, Alexey Negodaylo, Dmitry Trunekov, Alexey Voevoda and Alexander Zubkov deliver Russia the gold.  And they did it by maintaining an impressive lead over the other sled teams.  This is Alexander Zubkov's second gold of the games, having won the two man bobsled earlier with Alexey Voevoda.  They also won medals from Torino 2006, a silver in 4 man bobsled, and Vancouver 2010, a bronze in 2 man bobsled. 

Latvia's Oskars Melbārdis, Arvis Vilkaste, Daumants Dreiškens, and Jānis Strenga slide to silver. 

The US make the podium to earn bronze, with Steven Holcomb (bronze in 2 man bobsled in Sochi, gold in 4 man bobsled at Vancouver 2010),  Steven Langton (bronze in 2 man bobsled in Sochi), Curtis Tomasevicz (gold in 4 man bobsled at Vancouver 2010), Christopher Fogt (US veteran who competed at Vancouver 2010 in the second US sled and was deployed to Iraq right after the end of Vancouver 2010).

In the men's hockey gold medal game, the Canadians successfully defend their Vancouver 2010 title, beating Sweden 3-0.  Sweden settles for silver.

Of all the games the host nation was hoping to medal in, hockey was the one they had high hopes for.  But there is controversy over the International Olympics Committee mishandling and amateurish, possibly politically motivated actions that forced Sweden's forward Nicklas Backstrom to sit out the gold medal clash against Canada for a doping offense.  Except it wasn't a doping offense. 

It was the stimulant pseudoephedrine, which showed up in elevated levels in Backstrom's tests, because he was taking the over the counter sinus med Zyrtec D for his sinuses.  It is an allergy med he has taken over the years for his sinus condition and he did inform the drug testing officials that he was taking it, so they were aware of it.  Even Sweden's team doctor had given the okay for Backstrom to take the sinus med.  What makes the IOC's decision to keep Backstrom out of the gold medal final so suspicious was that they had the results two days prior, yet waited just 2 hours before the final to reveal their findings, making it impossible for Sweden to appeal and clear Backstrom. 

A similar case occurred in Vancouver 2010 when a player also took the over the counter sinus med and showed an elevated level of pseudoephedrine.  The International Ice Hockey Foundation was able to get the IOC to retest the player the next day to show the levels had gone down to the acceptable range once more.  That player was allowed to play in his matches.  The IOC's serious mishandling of Backstrom's case is very offensive and suspicious to Sweden, with the International Ice Hockey Foundation and the National Hockey League coming out to support Backstrom, declaring he had done nothing wrong, and criticizing the IOC for their very questionable and offensive actions in a game where Backstrom could've made a difference.  There are all ready threats from the National Hockey League and the NHL Players Association to stop participating in the Olympics due to the IOC's poor mishandling and incompetence in handling the case. 

I hope the IOC gets their act together, because on the world stage, their incompetence and mishandling of this case not only makes them look stupid and hurts the players and fans, it also makes them look suspicious and probably corrupt in eyes of the hockey world.  Don't hold on to possible positive test results for two days, then reveal them only two hours before a gold medal game, causing a team to lose a good player, jeopardizing their chances to get gold.  Get your crap together, IOC!

Finally, in the last outdoor event of the games, Russia sweeps the men's 50km mass start cross country skiing race for the first time.  Alexander Legkov. who won silver in the 4x10km relay, was the first Russian out of 3 in the lead group coming into the stadium to cross the finish line first.  Maxim Vylegzhanin takes the silver, adding to the two he won in the 4x10km relay and team sprint.  And Ilia Chernousov holds off Norway's Martin Johnsrud Sundby for the bronze.
And with this medal sweep, Russia wins the medal table for most medal and most gold medals.  It is a glorious finish for the host country.  It may not be the hockey gold they wanted, but it's still an impressive win.

And so we come to the Closing Ceremony:

Let's give it up for the Russians, who followed Canada's lead in how to handle Opening Ceremony glitches with humor.  If you recall, during the Sochi Opening Ceremony, there was a glitch in the Olympics Rings light show, when one of the rings failed to open.  The Russians embraced that mistake and repeated it in the fantastic Closing Ceremony floor show, where one group of dancers imitated the glitch, then successfully complete the rings.

My favorite performers where the birds flying over the ocean:
A flock of seagulls:  And  I ran, I ran so far away!

I've always wondered what happens to tinsel after the holidays:
Shiny Happy People

This being Russia, of course they would showcase ballet:
Hey, baby; want to go on a magic carpet ride?
The ballet was okay.  But I much prefer the circus:
Where do I apply to be her assistant?

And the fireworks.  I love the fireworks:


I think it's quite appropriate that Sochi's cauldron looks like a penis on fire.  It's very symbolic of how Russia is like a penis with herpes, trying hard to be prominent and noticeable, while its track record of suppressing dissension and minorities is a painful reminder that all is not well.  And while everything looks fine and seems to work on the surface, the occasional flare up and painful eruptions that breaks to the surface is a warning to always be cautious and safe when dealing with Russia.

The Olympics flag has been passed on to South Korea for the next winter Olympics at PyeongChang 2018.  In two years, the summer Olympics will be held for the first time in South America at Rio de Janeiro 2016.  And I can't wait to see what incredible feats the Olympic athletes will accomplish and I look forward to seeing what Rio does to welcome the world and show us what Brazil is all about.

There were fears about safety and concerns over whether Sochi would be ready and how to keep the games safe.  I say, well done, Sochi!  Thank you to all the thousands of volunteers, staff, and organizers who worked very hard to prepare the games and maintain the venues to put on a spectacular winter Olympics.  Thank you athletes, for your hard work and for being ambassadors of your countries on the world stage.  Thank you to all the armed forces and law enforcement for protecting the athletes and fans and keeping the city safe.  You welcomed the world to your home, and we are very thankful for a great Olympics experience. 

Bol'shoe spasibo (Большое спасибо); Thank you very much, Sochi!.


  1. Wait, there is one more medal ceremony for General Olympic Awesomeness!

    GOLD: Eroswings. For lively and informative day-by-day coverage of the games! Always a treat to read each and every Olympics. I hope you can attend the games in person some day.

    SILVER: Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir. For excellent skating commentary and fashion forward outfit coordination. As an aside, I agree with their assessment that the Women's Singles was correctly scored and decided.

    BRONZE: Russia. Flaming penis and all, they managed a well-presented event. Well done comrades!

  2. LX, Thank you for sharing your opinions and making me smile and laugh throughout the games. It makes the Olympics sharing experience a lot of fun :)

    And I share your enjoyment of Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir with the fashion sense and the entertaining and informative commentary.

    The Russians can take a lot of pride in providing a safe, entertaining, and and great environment for the Olympics to take place. They were great hosts!