Countdown to Sochi… The Good, The Bad, And The Downright Weird?

This week- in a matter of hours really- the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games will get underway.  I couldn’t be more excited!

Sochi 2014 Logos- Playing Olympic Games?

Despite The Seemingly Simplistic Dual Logos,
These Games Are Anything But…

For me this is it… I love the ice and snow; I love old Russia (as a concept, a place; not its politics). I have always been a fan of the Winter Olympic Games, through thick and thin.

Growing up on tropical Navy bases, having a family based in Texas- well, you can imagine the allure of the cold and powdery stuff that is so not “sand-in-the-bottom- of-your-bathing-suit.”

Let me say at the outset, I readily acknowledge the schism between the Olympic Games as an ideal (and yes, I will state openly that I am one of those who prefers to honor amateur athletes, not handpicked “dream teams” from our NHL in winter nor our NBA in summer) and the, uh, let’s just say “less than squeaky clean” image of the current state of the Olympics. I wholeheartedly support the Games, not the constant controversy.

Apparently, I’m not alone… Athletes are among those who are upset as well:

No other event has split the snowboarding community quite like the Winter Olympics.

To me, awarding the Games based on inflated promises without proper oversight and guidance, is like handing the keys to the armory over to a known offender. (Apologies to the innocent citizens who know whose offending governments these are!) The Games shouldn’t be a one-way ticket to insolvency.

But we’ll save that till another post someday.

For now though, the Pre-Games Warm-Up

As Whitelines (the UK’s self-described “premier snowboard magazine and website”) puts it,

Whether you love or hate snowboarding being part of the Olympics, it’s hard to argue that Sochi 2014 won’t be entertaining.

Let The Games Begin

A matter of days out and already we have scandal, rumor, innuendo… and that’s just the fashion segment!

(The section is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, fact-based-satire… just to be clear here. Don’t want to add to the Ministry of Misinformation’s workload!)

Mexico Ski Team of One, Unique ski uni design photo

The Scandal… A Ski Team of One: Would You Wear This?

The Scandal:
Athletes are required to wear uniforms consisting, in some cases, of as many as 56 articles of clothing along with 43 accessory items. These are athletes, for goodness sake, not the Olsen Twins!

Good, Bad, Or Downright Weird?
Would you wear this team ski uniform?
Can you guess the country? (rápidamente!)

Here’s how one reporter described this uniform:

Apparently he has about as much chance of winning a medal in downhill skiing as we do, but anyone who’s got the balls to wear a get-up like that has to be worth knowing about right?”  (via @whitelinesmag)

As if this weren’t enough, it seems that sartorial statements are being viewed as the latest way to assure attention, even if you don’t win a medal. Norway’s Curling Team in this year’s team uniform (below).

Norway's Curling Team Wild Uniform

Along those same lines, some of my favorites: Take a look back at the post I wrote about Azerbaijan’s “excellent slacks” as Bob Costas called them. They were just a little ahead of their time, evidently.

This Olympics, says of their design choices, “Azerbaijan’s five athletes will be able to double as Christmas Elves come December.” Ouch!

The Rumor:
When contingents from participating nations march in for the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics on February 7  in Sochi, Russia, spectators will not see the athletes  from Scotland, Fiji and American Samoa. The reason? Vladimir Putin’s government has banned male athletes from wearing skirts in public.   (Adobo Chronicles… “Your Source of Up-to-date but Unbelievable News!”)

The Innuendo: The entire Team USA may be disqualified because of inappropriate attire. Have you seen the new Ralph Lauren design? Voted one of the 10 Worst Olympics Uniforms Ever … EVER!  Team USA shows up on that Top 10 Worst list more than once.

What do you think of the Team USA design this year? Worthy of our best athletes? Or worthy of a trip to nowhere? (Here’s a link to all the best and worst.)

(Again, all good-natured satire. Apologies if you work for/are a designer with Ralph Lauren.)

Next up, these tips are actually real and mostly helpful.

The gift that keeps on giving… more news from the Sochi Toilets-

  • The Warning Signs in the Bathrooms at the Sochi Olympics Are Very Thorough:
    This from Extramustard blog, “Canadian snowboarder Sebastien Toutant recently flew to Sochi for the Olympics, and once there he found a curious and comprehensive warning sign waiting for him in the bathroom. Apparently hoping to keep any shenanigans out of the loo, a detailed explanation of expected restroom etiquette was posted for all to see…”
Sochi 2014 Olympics Toilets Keep On Giving: The Warning Signs in Sochi Toilets are Very Specific- Infographic

Sochi 2014 Olympics Toilets Keep On Giving

I’m not sure what to say here. During all my time in the former Soviet Union, I can safely say I never saw anyone fishing in a toilet. That’s just so… eww?
The 4th one, the ‘top squatter’, yes, I have seen that one, many times.
It goes without saying, I hope and pray that no one sees -or is- the last one.

Ok, if you liked “Olya Povlatsky,” here are a few more smiles (for real) from  the Sochi2014 lists of cultural activities around the region.

  • From the Hotel Roza Vetrov:
    Anyone wanting to know if there are certain side businesses going on, wonder no more. Their website indicates the following rates: “Staying in the hotel from 12-00 to 18-00 is charged hourly payment, from 18-00 to 24-00 – payment for the full day. 😉
  • In other wholesome activities:
    On February 7th, in Krasnodar Russia, Townsfolk can participate in “Olympic newlyweds ” – an event honoring the newlyweds, handing them an ” Olympic evidence” of marriage on the opening day of the XXII Olympic Winter Games (by the) head of the municipal entity Krasnodar city.
  • On February 11th, in Krasnodar, they will hold a sort of reality program: Sports competitions “Olympic Family” – sports competitions for teams from large families. [This would never have worked for the Beijing Games]
  • On February 22nd, in Krasnodar again, the city will hold a game program called “Comedy Sports” – a competition program for visitors to the area (with a large ball hockey, biathlon, ski scooters, sumo wrestling suits in the comic, goblin football, team pursuit in pants, gorgeous bobsled etc.)   [And they say Russians have no sense of humor?]
  • On February 7, exciting times in Ekaterinburg : Creative teams performance. Competition rhymes and short poems about Curling. Interactive quiz about Curling.
  • Things really heat up on February 12th, in Ekaterinburg: Fans there will be treated to “Notes on the cuffs,” and The Hockey Festival song.

Well there you go sports fans.

Wherever you are, you too can create your own “Live Site Sochi 2014 For Your City” using the outlines provided at (or just click the link above).

All these activities above- and more! – can be yours to use in your own towns…  (aw c’mon, give it a try!)

I hope this has given you some fun “Notes on the cuffs,” as they say in Sochi.

Go, enjoy the Winter Olympics from Sochi… and be very glad we won’t be having an interactive pop-quiz on Curling as you watch! This week, everyone’s a winner…

8 thoughts on “Countdown to Sochi… The Good, The Bad, And The Downright Weird?

    • I agree Sami- some of these fall into the category of “What were they thinking?”

      As for the last illustration, I had to go back to the original and read all the comments to be sure, but it turns out it’s an “anti-drug” warning. Meaning, don’t do drugs in the toilets. Sad that they have to put that on an international symbol sign.

      Here’s hoping everything goes well for these Games, that there are no further serious injuries and… the hotel construction issues get ironed out pretty quickly!


  1. Thanks for a great article. I love the uniforms. I’m not really a sports fan so I’ve never watched much of the Olympics, but now that I know they have such cool costumes, I’ll have to check it out. 🙂
    And what about that fishing in the toilet sign? Have you gained any insight on that one? It’s pretty strange.
    Anyway, best of luck to team USA!


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