News / Europe

Russian Railroads Enable Epic Olympic Journeys

Russian Railroads Enable Epic Olympic Journeysi
X
February 15, 2014 2:08 AM
Sochi isn't the best-connected Olympic host city. And in a country as huge as Russia, some sports fans are undertaking journeys of several days and thousands of kilometers - by air, road, rail and sea. Henry Ridgwell reports from Sochi on the epic journeys travellers are taking to see the Games.

Russian Railroads Enable Epic Olympic Journeys

Henry Ridgwell
Sochi isn't the best-connected Olympic host city. Most visitors have to travel through hubs like Moscow or Frankfurt to get there. And in a country as huge as Russia, some of those sports fans are undertaking treks of several days and thousands of kilometers - by air, road, rail and sea. People are taking epic journeys to see the Games.

They’ve travelled about 10,000 kilometers from the American Midwest to Sochi; Sean Gushing and Steven Lunsford are two of the self-proclaimed "Singing Men of Oklahoma."

“The Singing Men of Oklahoma are a group of 90 men, we’ve paid our own way to come to Sochi, to pray for the people of Sochi, to share goodwill, to enjoy the Games," said Gushing. "We’ve sung all over the city. On the buses, we’ve sung in the train station, in the trains, anywhere we could find people who would listen.”

Singing men

The 90 Singing Men of Oklahoma are staying three to a room on board one of cruise ships docked in Sochi harbor.

The liners provide a quick fix for the shortage of hotel rooms in the city. Also on board are Sevgenya Marozava and Anastasia - two dancers who won a Russian competition to come and see the Games.

“We are from Irkutsk, near Lake Baikal in Siberia,” said Marozava. “We went by plane to Moscow, that took 6 hours. Then we took the train from Moscow to Sochi, which took 24 hours.”

For most international visitors the first experience of Sochi is the sparkling new airport terminal, staffed by dozens of smiling volunteers.

But for many Russians eager to cheer on their heroes, there is a cheaper, albeit slower option - the infamous Russian railway.

Riding the rails

Trains arrive at Sochi’s ornate station from across Russia. There are several trains a day from Moscow - a 24 hour, 1,500-kilometer journey. Others come from Siberia in the east, and St. Petersburg in the west.

Yuna Salavyova described her family’s Olympic odyssey.

“We have come from the Western-most point of Russia, from Kaliningrad. It took me two times 24 hours, so 48 hours to come here. You know our Russia is a great big country. So guys, I wish you were here, it is splendid, the sun is shining brightly, people are smiling everywhere,” said Salavyova.

The train also brings arrivals from the airport - like Linda Want and Kimberley Moss from the United States.

“I started in Minneapolis. She started in San Francisco. We met in London,” said Want.

“So we left the States last Saturday, arrived in London on Sunday, and then went on to Finland, spent a day in Finland, spent a couple of days in Moscow seeing the sights, and then arrived here today,” said Moss.

Canadian Brad McCallum has made a pilgrimage of thousands of kilometers from Toronto for one thing only - the ice hockey. “It’s in our blood as Canadians, so we’re here to support the team.”

As the travellers emerge into the warm sunshine of Sochi, many of them agree on one thing: The incredible journey is all part of the Olympic adventure.

  • Shani Davis of the U.S. skates in the prototype of the official US Speedskating suit during a training session at the Adler Arena Skating Center at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 14, 2014.
  • Latvia goaltender Edgars Masalskis reaches to block a shot on goal by the Czech Republic in the third period of a men's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 14, 2014.
  • The two-man team from Monaco MON-1, piloted by Patrice Servelle, start a run during a training session for the men's two-man bobsled at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 14, 2014.
  • This multiple exposure photo shows the Sweden curling team throwing during a round robin session against China in the Ice Cube Curling Center at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 14, 2014.
  • Norway’s Haavard Vad Petersson and Torger Nergaard sweep ahead of the rock during men's curling competition against Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 14, 2014.
  • Workers groom the women's downhill course at the Rosa Khutor Alpine center at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 14, 2014.
  • Evgenii Itbaev leaps as a friend takes her picture near the Olympic Cauldron at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 14, 2014.
  • Norway's Chris Andre Jespersen wears a cut suit as he gets to the finish area after completing the men's 15K classical-style cross-country race at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 14, 2014.
  • Swiss fans wear cow costumes and national flags at the Alpine ski venue for the men's supercombined at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 14, 2014.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Michael Wind
February 15, 2014 5:15 PM
russia its a huge country a lifetime of travel.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid