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SOCHI 2014

Olympic Snapshots: From sibling trios to drive for five

By Ted Wyman, Winnipeg Sun

Plastic covered furniture is seen in the bar area of an unfinished media hotel in the mountain village of Esto Sadok at the Rosa Khutor alpine resort near Sochi, Feb. 2, 2014. (Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)

Plastic covered furniture is seen in the bar area of an unfinished media hotel in the mountain village of Esto Sadok at the Rosa Khutor alpine resort near Sochi, Feb. 2, 2014. (Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)



Some members of the media arrived here this week to discover their rooms in the mountain cluster were not ready. In fact, their buildings were barely even constructed.

The apartment hotels in Krasnaya Polyana were still being worked on and rooms were not available, leaving organizers red-faced and media members waiting for hours to have a solution worked out.

"I have some travel experience and I know how embarrassing it is when you arrive after a long flight to a place and your room is not ready," IOC president Thomas Bach said.

"Right now, according to our information, 24,000 rooms have been delivered and 97% of them without any problem. For the remaining 3% there are still some issues to be settled. But we have also been informed that everybody was offered a room of at least the same quality wherever there was a problem. The other problems which are more technical ones will be addressed, like giving some of the rooms the final touch."




Reports here Tuesday indicated a shelter for stray dogs has been opened in Sochi with the capability to handle 150 animals. It is the first dog shelter in the city, which reportedly had as many as 2,000 strays before a cull began prior to the Olympic Winter Games. It's a start, but not much of one. Perhaps a spay and neuter program?


The Dufour-Lapointe sisters from Quebec -- Justine, Chloe and Maxime -- will all compete in the moguls competition, which gets underway Thursday night at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

It's a pretty unique experience for the three freestyle skiers, but they are not the only sibling trio competing in these Games. In fact, they're not the only freestyle skiing sibling trio competing in these games.

New Zealand's Wells brothers -- Josiah, Byron and Beau-James -- will all take part in the men's halfpipe event Feb. 18.


Petr Nedved will play for the Czech Republic hockey team in these Olympics, 20 years after he last played in the Games.

Interestingly, back in 1994, he played for Canada. Nedved helped Canada to the gold-medal game, where they lost in a shootout to Sweden. Nedved defected to Canada in 1989 but has been back playing in the Czech Republic since 2007.


There are seven countries making their first appearances in the Olympics, including such non-winter locales as Dominica (alpine skiers Gary and Angelica Di Silvestri), Malta (alpine skier Elise Pellegrin), Paraguay (freestyle skier Julia Marino), Timor-Leste (alpine skier Yohan Goutt Goncalves), Togo (alpine skier Alessia Afi Dipol and cross-country skier Mathilde-Amivi Petitjean), Tonga (luger Bruno Banani) and Zimbabwe (alpine skier Luke Steyn).


Luger Armin Zoeggler of Italy and speed skater Claudia Pechstein of Germany are both vying to become the first athletes to win medals in individual sports at five different Olympics. Pechstein has won nine medals overall, the first coming way back in 1992 in Albertville, France.

Canadian hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser is also trying to win a medal in her fifth different Olympics, but she competes in a team sport.


Canadian-born Olympic gold medallist Dale Begg-Smith of Australia caused a stir at the Sochi airport when he arrived Monday night and bypassed the waiting media. The moguls specialist was reportedly frustrated after arriving without his luggage and did not want to speak to the media. That prompted an apology from the chef de mission for the Australian Olympic Committee, which shows just how seriously the IOC takes the promotion of its athletes at these Games.


India's Shiva Keshavan will compete in his fifth Olympic Winter Games in luge, but he won't be able to carry his country's flag at the Opening Ceremony. Keshavan will compete under the Olympic Flag after his country's Olympic Association was suspended by the IOC last year for not following the Olympic charter.

Keshavan, who drew his inspiration to become a luger from the movie Cool Runnings, about the 1988 Jamaican bobsled team, says he is still receiving support from Indians all over the world, as he is his country's only Winter Olympian.

"I love my country and my people," he said. "I will give my best for them."

Keshavan, 32, learned luge on a sled with wheels and still often trains on the Himalayan roads, dodging trucks and goats on his makeshift track. There is no luge track in India.


Canada's Arianne Jones has always been told she's too small to be a slider. But here she is, set to compete for Canada in luge at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Jones, who is 5-foot-3, 130 pounds, is known as "Little Arianne" to her teammates, but she doesn't take it personally. In fact, it motivates her to show what she can do.

"When you watch the field of sliders, women are generally bigger and taller than myself," Jones said. "That means I need to have faster starts, better lines and I have to be more aerodynamic than the other athletes.

"I want to show the world that I can do it, too."

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