My work days at these Olympics begin in the dark. The sun doesn’t rise in Sochi until the surprisingly late hour of 8:30 a.m., so when I stroll over from the 13.8-Billion-Year Hotel (see previous post) to the Main Press Center (MPC) each morning, it still feels like the middle of the night.
Mind you, as I write this, it IS the middle of the night. I’m awake at 2 a.m. (5 p.m. your time) thanks to the wonder of jet lag.
Today Olympic competition begins. Work days, already long, will grow longer for journalists. I’ll make it back to my hotel around midnight each night. Our Sports Illustrated writers and photographers will be up until 2 or 3 or 4 a.m., depending on when an event ends. Our staff will be (and already is) producing magazine stories, website stories, photo galleries, videos, tweets, Instagram pictures and pretty much any other form of journalistic expression possible these days.
It’s my job to know everything that is happening or might happen, figure out what stories we should do and how we should do them, assign writers, and make sure the writers, our photo editors and the SI magazine and website folks back in New York all know what’s going on and who’s doing what. In some cases I edit stories at the Olympics, but more often, for logistical reasons, the editing is done back in New York.
There many press conferences in the MPC. Above are U.S. women's bobsledders Lauryn Williams and Lolo Jones at a press conference I attended earlier this week. After answering questions from the group, the athletes go to different areas of the room, where we're able to interview them in more detail.
I think I might head back to bed now, but just so you know, my spies tell me that the Opening Ceremony on Friday night will be excellent, so tune in. It will start at 20:14 Sochi time (11:14 a.m. on the East Coast of the U.S.). I don’t know yet whether SI will have enough media tickets (there is limited space for print journalists at the ceremony) for me to be able to go. I prefer to have our writers use the press tickets we do receive because they might see something they can use later in a story. Besides, I’ve been to plenty of Olympic ceremonies in the past.
Here are a few more photos:
Banners outside an arena known as the Ice Cube. Starting on Monday, teams of curlers will slide those polished stones down the rink inside and madly sweep the ice with their brooms to speed, slow and steer the granite disks toward the scoring circles.
I'm not sure why, but there's a sunflower theme throughout the the press ce
Signs in Sochi can be amusing or inscrutable; at least this one is easy to understand. An athlete Tweeted this out.
Can you guess which of these are the official mascots and which are other stuffed toys that wandered into the shot? The troika of mascots are the polar bear, the hare and the snow leopard.
My nephew and his wife gave me a red-white-and-blue watch to wear in Sochi, made by a snowboard apparel company that happens to go by my last name. Wherever I go in Russia, night or day, it's always Neff time.