Celebrating in Sochi

An open invitation to all of my friends. Come join me this afternoon I have invited 7,500 of my closest friends to the venue to help me celebrate my 65th birthday!  Although due to my limited Russian language skills ( I think I am now up to 9 words) I don’t understand what they have been screaming from the stands, today I am sure they will all be cheering for me. You know that 4 x 10 km Men’s relay is just the warm up act.

Lest you think I am feeling old, yesterday I met an Italian Photographer, who pointed out he is living with his girlfriend in Spain. Giuliano’s first Olympics was in 1964. Wow! 50 years ago.  I feel like just a kid. He was having simultaneous conversations with several of us, which in and of itself is not unusual, but one was in Italian, one was in Finnish, one in German and with me in English.  One of the things he had explained to the Finnish photographer that he had hoped to learn more Finnish but his Finnish girlfriend moved out.

It was a beautiful sunny day, much too warm for the Winter Olympics and Giuliano kept us all entertained and instructed Go stand over there, you will make a better photo.’

He left us with some very important professional advice that can only be given by an Italian – Making pictures is nice, but always remember what is most important is sex!

Here are few snaps from the Women’s 4 x 5 km relay. Being on the course, I could see how hard the American girls were working, but some days you have fast skis and some days you don’t. Today they didn’t, but they left everything out there.

Kikkan Randall, #4 lead off.

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Sadie Bjornsen had the second leg getting some encouragement from one of the US coaches.

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The race leaders begin the 3rd skate leg.

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Liz Stephen tucks into the final lap down hill.

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The relay’s are notorious for dramatic sprint finishes, so today I got there after the 3rd exchange and had a great spot on the top row, clear view, clean background, right between the reserved spots for Sports Illustrated and Reuters.

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As they made the turn with about 200 meters to go, it still could have been anyone’s race. Left to right: Sweden, Finland and Germany.

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We were all ready, fingers on the shutter waiting for the lunge across the line. Well the Swedish team was also ready to celebrate, but as I always say, every shot is a lucky shot!

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Minnesota girl, Jessie Diggins left it all on the course today.

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More soon.

Paul

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