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A week in Sochi

Volume 10 Number 3 March 10 - April 13 2014

 

Ski cross athlete and Masters of Property student Katya Crema reflects on a hectic week at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

I have now been living in the Sochi Olympic Village for one week. 

There’s so much happening here I don’t know where to start!

Our ski cross team arrived three days after the Opening Ceremony. At first I was a bit disappointed to miss the march, but given the scheduling of our event, right towards the end of the Games, it didn’t make sense to fly into Russia so early.

Instead, I was lucky enough to catch up with my parents in Innsbruck for a couple of days before my departure to Sochi. It was great to watch a few Olympic events together, including Britt Cox’s standout performance finishing fifth place in the women’s moguls. A great start for the Aussie Olympic Team. 

Arriving into Sochi was very exciting. By the time we left the airport and passed through various check-in areas and arrived to our rooms it was well past midnight. Awaiting us on our beds was a suitcase full of Australian Olympic uniforms. I remember from my first Olympics in Vancouver, this was one of the most exciting parts of the Games. It all finally becomes real.

The Australian Team occupied an entire five-level apartment building. With 60 athletes on the team this year, plus coaches, doctors, physiotherapists, sports psychologists, nutritionists, admin and officials, we are a team of well over 100. It was great to catch up with fellow Australian teammates from different sports in those first few days. With such different training and competition schedules, it’s not often we all get a chance to get together in Australia. 

The weather in the first week has been incredible. Sunny blue skies, and temperatures closer to that of a summer Games than a winter. It’s the first time I have really seen the sun since I left Australia in early November last year, so I have been trying to make the most of it from skiing in a t-shirt to working on my goggle tan.

The mountain is closed to the public, so up at the peak where there are no Olympic events, it is eerily quiet. I have never experienced anything quite like it, and don’t think I will again. 

Yesterday’s training session was just myself and one of the ski cross coaches skiing groomers all to ourselves; literally no-one about.

The ski cross course layout is similar to the World Cup race last year, just bigger in every aspect. Bigger jumps, bigger berms, bigger features. I was terrified and excited at the same time. 

The adrenaline rush I get from skiing this course is huge. As soon as I had completed one run, I wanted to head straight back up for another. 

The feeling of pushing yourself past your comfort zone and coming out on top is addictive, and probably why I love this sport.

The most enjoyable aspect of the Games so far has been watching fellow Australian athletes compete in their events, either live in the stadium or back at the athlete lounge on TV. 

The vibe is incredibly positive on this team, and it is contagious. Everyone is backing each other, and feeding off each other’s enthusiasm and excitement. I am very lucky to be a part of it. 

The above text originally appeared on Katya’s blog. 

http://katyacrema.blogspot.com.au/. 

 

Ms Crema placed seventh in her event at the Sochi Winter Olympics, making her the equal-most successful Australian skier cross athlete at a Winter Olympics.