Friday, February 14, 2014

Sochi Part Two

The weather is really the story here in Sochi, but the opposite of what you are all experiencing. It's real warm here, borderline hot. This morning we headed up yo the Alpine competition only to have it postponed until 3:30pm due to extremely warm conditions. Even atop the mountains here in Sochi it was nearly 60 degrees.

Projections are that it will be close to 70 degrees in the Olympic Village today. All of the vents down there are indoors, so there is no impact. But, I will have to say that it doesn't seem like this is the Winter Olympics. It's another weird chapter in the weather annals of 2014. Go to Russia and get a suntan at the Winter Olympics.

On Thursday we went to the United States versus Slovakia hockey game. The Americans opened the game up in the second quarter and posted 7-1 win. International hockey is played on a rink that is about 20 feet longer and 15 feet wider than a NHL rink. As a result, the U.S. Team is built for speed and they clearly outclassed their rivals yesterday. The final event that we see Saturday night will be the U.S. Men against Russia and that should be great.

Following the hockey game we went to the set of the Today Show which is at the Olympic Village. It was my first meeting with Matt Lauer since I announced Tom Watson as the Ryder Cup Captain in Rockefeller Center back in December 2012. There were a bunch of present and former Olympic athletes on the set including our pairs ice skating team.  Evan Lysacek who won the Gold in men's figure skating Vancouver was there at Today. He and Johnny Weir another renowned U.S. Men's figure skater are doing a lot of work for NBC.

As I scanned for an English speaking TV station last night I stumbled across a British feed which was doing a segment on security here in Sochi. The report was openly critical of the Russian government for not investing more marketing dollars into telling the story of the iron clad security precautions that it has successfully instituted. It's really true. When you consider that the Russians spent $51 billion on this Olympiad- more than the past 21 combined- they surely could have spent another billion on marketing.

In fairness, to the Russians the American press blew way out of proportion many things surrounding this Olympic games including the security threat. As I said in the last report, no one here is even talking security risks. The "Ring of Steel" has truly been just that. We have experienced good accommodations, decent food and very friendly treatment from hotel staff and Olympic volunteers.

Friday night will find us at the finals of the men's figure skating. The typical evenings end around 2 a.m. Mornings begin at 8:30 a.m. It's an easy bus ride to the Olympic village. Going up top to the mountains for the skiing or extreme events is another story. It's a couple of gondola rides to the venues and a pretty intense hike wherever you go. The elevation makes breathing tough and it is physically draining. The weather has made it hard to dress and it's been easy to get over heated at these events.

It has been a once in a lifetime experience. Thanks to my friends from NBC and The Golf Channel for making it happen. Jon Miller is in charge of programming for NBC Sports and. Mike. McCarley is the president of Golf. Channel. They are great PGA of America partners and have rolled out the red carpet for us.

Finally, we do stay in touch with golf this week. We know that Watson named Ray Floyd as an assistant. We have discussed golf, bifurcation and the Ryder Cup on many a late night. There are lots of good things on the horizon when we get back to the States.

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