MY OLYMPICS JOURNEY: 16 odd observations from covering the ’16 Summer Games

This assignment is not normal.

I’ve said that before, right?

In fact, I have probably detailed it quite a bit in this space over the past few weeks. I have discussed how this three-week Olympic experience affects my diet, sleep, and health.

But I probably have not described much of the minutiae.

Here, then, is this list. As my assignment winds down (I leave Monday following the closing ceremonies), I bring you 16 odd observations from covering the 2016 Olympics:


MY OLYMPICS JOURNEY: Checking out Sochi’s coastal cluster

A little light goes a long way.

When I first rode the bus into the Olympic village outside of Sochi, Russia, I found myself thoroughly unimpressed. The buildings seemed spread out; the area seemed empty; and the energy seemed missing.

But one important element was also missing: sunlight.

I awakened this morning to a gorgeous sunrise: a pink-orange glow emanating above the horizon, reflecting upon the miniature ponds in front of the Black Sea. When I stood on my hotel balcony and looked right, I saw sunrise and the sea.

When I looked left, I saw the mountains.

And suddenly, I very much understood the majesty of the Sochi coast.

To be sure, the buildings in town are definitely spread out. Unlike most previous recent Olympic sites, the event venues are far removed from the city in which they are being held.

And to be sure, the area still seems very empty, even in the daylight. That will change when the fans file in for this weekend’s Opening Ceremonies.

But even without all that, this Olympic location is as picturesque as one might hope.


MY OLYMPICS JOURNEY: Arriving in Sochi, awaiting sleep

3:34 AM.

The clock on my computer is staring back at me, screaming, “GO TO BED!” in its non-threatening, tiny white font.

And yet, I am nowhere near tired.

Welcome to the road-trip life, nine time zones away.

I have officially arrived in Sochi, Russia, home of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Over the next few weeks, I will cover the Games for my current station, WXIA-TV/11Alive in Atlanta, as well as stations and newspapers across the country owned by our parent company, Gannett.

(As for what exactly I will be doing, that will be the subject of an entry in the near future.)

This is a truly exciting opportunity, one that I cannot wait to tackle.

But first, somehow, I have to get my body right.

WXIA photographer Jon Samuels and I departed from Atlanta Saturday evening; we arrived in Sochi three flights and 18 hours later. Technically, we got here Sunday evening, but I still felt like I was still living in the previous day, as if I was experiencing one super-long, mostly plane-bound day.

Six hours later, I have completely lost my time frame of reference. It’s dark; I’m not tired; I need to be awake in five hours; and I know, at some point, my body is going to re-synchronize with my mind and tell it to go to bed.

But not yet.

For now, I feel like I am stuck in some sort of time purgatory — no longer on Eastern Standard Time, but not yet on Sochi time.