Friday, February 7, 2014

Why USA will win Sochi Olympics medal count. (It's not what you think.)

Team USA is favored to top the Sochi Olympics medal count in large part because America has innovated a unique Olympic ecosystem that thrives without a penny of federal money.

By Staff writer / February 7, 2014
The formal press conference for the US short track speedskating team has ended, and Jordan Malone is sitting to the side of a stage, completely at ease, chatting with the journalists who have huddled around him like freezing men before a fire.
At the moment, he's talking about how his aunt Dina has to buy his blades ($500 a set), because he frankly doesn't have that much money to spare. It is the archetypal tale of the American Olympian: passionate, supremely talented, and nearly broke.

Yet the scene unfolding in Dostoyevsky Hall on the Tuesday before the Sochi Olympics opened echoes in ways deeper than the obvious. What Malone says, how he is acting, and the fact that he is even here – paraded before the media when he would almost certainly rather be doing anything else – speaks to what has made the United States unique in the global Olympic movement.

Sochi Olympics: Ring malfunctions at opening ceremony

One of the rings forming the Olympic Rings fails to open during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia (7 Feb. 2014)The Sochi rings: One remained a snowflake


A technical hitch during the lavish opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics in Sochi meant that the last of the five rings making up the Olympic symbol failed to open.
Five giant snowflakes descended into the stadium and were then meant to open up to form the rings.
The fifth snowflake did appear to open on some TV feeds, sparking questions as to whether the footage was edited.
The ceremony's producer Konstantin Ernst dismissed the malfunction.
Olympics rings as seen on Russia TV Russia viewers saw recorded footage at the key moment
"It would be ridiculous to focus on this ring that never opened, it would be simply silly," he said.
Mr Ernst said as producers had known several seconds in advance that the ring would not pop up they were able to alert the Russian channel, which broadcast some pre-shot footage instead.
"Let us not make a sensation out of that," he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin waits in the presidential lounge to be introduced at the opening ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics as a television screen displays five Olympic rings (7 February 2014)All five rings were visible on the TV feed reaching the presidential lounge and Vladimir Putin
The missing ring caused amusement on social media, with tweeters joking that it was afraid to come out due to Russia's stance on gay rights.
The Sochi Games is the most expensive Olympics in history, costing around $50bn (£30bn).

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