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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.
Friday morning we headed up to the Alpine competition only to have it postponed until 3:30 p.m. 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. All of the events 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 vs. 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 an NHL rink. As a result, the U.S. team is built for speed and
clearly outclassed its rivals. The final event that we saw Saturday was the U.S. men against Russia.
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.
As I scanned for an English-speaking TV station last night I stumbled across a British feed that 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 my previous 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 found 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 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 overheated 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 The 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 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.
Ted Bishop is PGA of America president and director of golf and general manager of The Legends Golf Club in Franklin. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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