ALL POSTS TAGGED "[sochi]"

Photo Courtesy of Lewis Johnson

“For the 8th time in my career, I’ve witnessed the power of the Olympic spirit, not just on the field, but in the ability to unite people from across the globe. We come together, work together and find our common ground as humans, despite our language, culture, religion, etc. The fear, concern and safety of visiting Russia was replaced over the past couple weeks with smiles from thousands of volunteers, including one man I met when I first arrived, who said to me in broken English, “This is the new Russia and I hope you enjoy your visit. We are open to the world and we welcome you.” I felt that and I will be back to Russia.  You should come see for yourself.

Cosmopolitan is a word that fits what I experienced here in the mountains above Sochi, Russia. I stayed in Krasnaya Polanya and it’s only a 5-minute walk away from Gorky Gorod Mall with more than 10 restaurants and bars. The mall is not only home to several brand name stores, but there is also an indoor beach on top floor with sands imported all the way from Dubai! You have to see the wave pool, water park and volleyball courts. It’s simply amazing!
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This Week in Photos

Photography by REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

You won’t see this kissing contest and undie run in the Olympics, but you will find them and more in this week in photos. Get more travel news with a side of Sochi in our weekly travel blog roundup.

Check your baggage and book a pre-flight massage? DCist reports Ronald Regaen National Airport is undergoing a $37 million upgrade by spring 2015, including a full-service spa.

Skift answers the age-old question: When’s the best time to book a flight? The answer could save you $256.

Business Insider posted Gallup’s annual ranking of the happiest states in the US. A surprising state stole the title from longtime frontrunner Hawaii.

HuffPost Travel discovered there are more problems than leaning for the Tower of Pisa … tourists have to climb 300 seriously-wavy steps to get to the top.

Because it’s still that time of year, CNTraveler has ice skating savant Johnny Weir’s surprising Sochi tip.

 

Red Fox Restaurant (Photo Courtesy of Lewis Johnson)

If someone dropped you off in the village of Rosa Khutor — in the Mountain Cluster of the Sochi Olympics — you get the feeling like you’re in western Europe. Everything is brand new. All of the village’s hotels, restaurants and nightlife were created for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The charm of this luxurious mountain ski village is amazing especially the panoramic views from a ski lift. You’ll love it!

So far, here are my 3 favorite spots to have a meal and a beverage, and chill with a nice mix of locals and fans of the Olympics.
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Lewis Johnson with the US Women’s Bobsled Team: (l-r) Elana Meyers, Lauryn Williams, Aja Evans, Jazmine Fenlator and Lolo Jones (center). (Photo Courtesy of Lewis Johnson)

Traveling must be in your blood to cover the Olympics. Since I was a kid growing up in Austin, TX, I remember seeing the koala — which is not a bear — on the Qantas Airlines commercials on TV. I would think, “I wanna go there one day!” Well, after the disappointment of not making an Olympic team as an 800-meter runner, my Olympic dream did come true in 2000 as an NBC broadcaster. My childhood dream became a reality when I made that trek around the world to Sydney as a Track & Field Analyst for the network’s coverage of the Games down under. Fast forward to 2014, and I’ve just arrived in Sochi, Russia, for my 8th Olympic assignment as the bobsled, luge and skeleton reporter.

You can feel the tension with the increase of security as these Sochi Games begin. Most of us veteran broadcasters and globe trotters will stay alert, but carry on as usual to experience another memorable  Winter Olympics, which will be more than covering our events and going to the hotel. I’m going to hang out with people who want  to embrace Sochi’s culture, including the food, wine and nightlife. It will be my way of exploring the host city and Russia. That’s what I’ll  be writing about for the next few weeks.
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Sochi Olympics 2014

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The Seattle Seahawks, Punxsutawney Phil and more came out to play in this week in photos. While the Seahawks dominated the big game, all eyes are on the Olympic Games thanks to some bad press. Let’s hope things look up for Sochi after today’s opening ceremony.

Journalists were the first to arrive — and describe some hilarious and gross hotel experiences. WashPost rounded up their tweets, our personal favorite being from @StaceyStClair about the shoddy plumbing, “Also on the bright side: I just washed my face with Evian, like I’m a Kardashian or something.”

Possibly the most documented of all the @SochiProblems has been it’s interesting bathrooms, which are both lacking privacy and displaying confusing rules. Does that sign say don’t go fishing in the toilet? Your guess is as good as ours, Buzzfeed.

More alarming, Dateline reports that Sochi visitors face an internet minefield, often being hacked within minutes. Furthermore, the US State Department has told Americans coming to Sochi that they should have no expectation of privacy, even in their hotel rooms.

On a lighter note, CNN has 9 ways Sochi Surprises — including dacha, chacha and a gay bar. While you’re at it, check out our list of Sochi’s surprising sights.

Last but not least, today’s Google Doodle is garnering attention for its support of LGBT olympians, pointing to a section of the Olympic Charter that defends all athletes. The CSMonitor has more.

More Olympics Coverage:

Sochi 2014 Trip Planner
Where to Stay in Sochi
The Olympics: A Look Ahead

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With 10 days to go until the Sochi Winter Olympics, we’re reminded that the Olympics represent an undisputed symbol of peak athleticism, entertainment and global cooperation. Also undisputed, however, is that the Olympics are consistently mired in controversy. The level of controversy varies from game to game. It can involve anything from performance-enhancing drugs and corrupt judges to political boycotts and most terrifyingly, assassinations.

The Sochi Winter Olympics are no exception to either end of the spectrum. There have been stories of self-sacrifice and excruciating decisions (Lindsey Vonn’s injury, for one) and ultimately triumph. There have been reports of heightened security and terrorism alerts, of wasted funds and a corrupt political environment.

It would be irresponsible to ignore the controversial political climate of the Sochi Games as it involves the world’s safety. However we must remain hopeful and optimistic that these 16 days will inspire the world.

In the spirit of the Olympic Games, here are some fun and hopefully inspirational facts:

Fact #10

Ralph Lauren once again designed the USA Olympic team uniforms. All of the uniforms were made exclusively in the USA, specifically in Oregon (yarn), Pennsylvania (spinning), North Carolina (material prep) and Los Angeles (assembly line).

Fact #9

We all know that the fourth-place finisher does not get a medal, but he/she does not go home empty-handed. The first eight athletes in each event receive a diploma from the IOC (International Olympics Committee).

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London's Olympic Stadium and the Orbit

Photography by Getty Images

Before the mass exodus from London’s Olympic Park, the Spice Girls, The Who, One Direction, Pet Shop Boys, George Michael — and other notable British singers and musicians — graced the stage in Olympic Stadium for the London 2012 closing ceremonies.

And just in case you didn’t know, Team USA will take home the most medals. US Olympic athletes won a total of 104 medals: 46 gold, 29 silver and 29 bronze.  Team GB came in 3rd after China, winning a total of 65 Olympic medals.

During the closing ceremonies, spectators got a taste of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — the host city for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. But before you start making your travel plans to Rio, we suggest you think about the 22nd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, scheduled for February 7 – 23, 2014.

If cold weather isn’t your cup of tea, then relive the magic of the past 2 weeks and visit Britain’s Olympic venues, including Wembley Stadium and Wimbledon.  Take a tour of Britain’s most amazing spots with 2012 gold medalist and Olympic swimmer Rebecca Soni, Olympic Soccer champion Heather Mitts and other world-renowned athletes.

Travel with gymnast Nastia Liukin to Buckingham Palace, the London Eye and Westminster Abbey. Explore Scotland’s great outdoors with Track and Field champions Bryan Clay and Jeremy Campbell.

Visit Essex, Glasgow, Greenwich, Coventry, Manchester and Wales. Discover why US Olympic athletes enjoy visiting Britain as they show you some of their favorite spots in our London 2012 web series.

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