News / USA

Americans at Sochi - Few and Happy

FILE - Fans celebrate with a U.S. flag after Jamie Anderson of the United States won the women's snowboard slopestyle final at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 9, 2014
FILE - Fans celebrate with a U.S. flag after Jamie Anderson of the United States won the women's snowboard slopestyle final at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 9, 2014
James Brooke
President Barack Obama is skipping the Sochi Winter Olympics, American security officials have warned about toothpaste bombs on flights to Russia, and journalists have written about falling curtain rods in showers. So what do American visitors think about the Sochi Olympics? 
 
Leslie Carol Escobar closed up her massage studio in Washington, D.C. and flew to Sochi to experience an Olympics. Outside the Men’s Alpine race, Escobar was easy to spot: she was wrapped in an American flag.
 
“The Russians, they love us," she said. "Yesterday, they were taking so many pictures of us and a bunch of other Americans. My cheeks are hurting because we were smiling and just taking thousands of pictures."
 
The downside: her hotel reservation in the mountains was canceled and she had to take a room two hours away, on the Black Sea Coast.
 
“Everything has been great, but to be honest I expected it to be more organized,” Escobar confided.
 
Tyler Yarnell, an accountant from North Carolina, was cheering in the stands, also draped in a big American flag.  He said he has seen very few Americans:
 
“Handful. Sometimes you hear someone speaking in English and you will perk up your ears. Handful. Five or so,” estimated Yarnell.
 
Asked why there were so few Americans present, he answered, “it is a long way from home."
 
“The route was Charlotte to Atlanta to JFK to Moscow to Sochi; it took about 30 hours,” explained Yarnell.

He also thought the fear of terrorism kept some of his countrymen away, but personally felt safe.
 
“The safety concerns, I feel they are really overblown,” Yarnell said.
 
This is the third Olympics for Michael Vigil, a carpet restorer from New Smyrna, Florida.  Vigil recalled seeing more Americans at other Games he had attended.
 
“[The number of Americans is] down. It is down. Probably because of the threats, the security threats,” said Vigil.
 
However, even with fewer Americans around, Vigil was in good spirits.
 
“I am having a great time. Really enjoying myself,” he said.
 
Benny Ryerson, from Lake Tahoe, California, was not wearing the American flag because he coaches the national slopestyle ski team of Chile.
 
After skiing the Rockies, the Alps and the Andes, Ryerson said the Caucasus offered some of the world’s best slopes.
 
“This mountain, Rosa Khutor, rates among the best mountains I have ever seen, if not the best,” Ryerson said.
 
“As far as mountain terrain goes, this has as good terrain as anywhere you can find in the Alps, better terrain than anywhere I have ever seen in the United States," he explained. "The Chilean mountains are great, but this mountain, I was extremely surprised. I had no idea. This is one of the best mountains I have ever seen."

For the pioneering Americans who made it all the way to Sochi, a big reward is the thrill of discovery.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid