Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics Blog - The Final, Final Stretch!!

Alright, everyone, let us visit Sochi one last time for some Para-/Olympic goodness!!

Days 8-9--No Adjustment Required

--So this version of snowboard cross, in video game terms, is more like a speed or time trial than the outright race. All things considered, I guess that is reasonable. I imagine that in the next few years, you'll see something resembling the usual craziness…

--The current state of the sport reminds me of a lot of the Paralympic sports in earlier times. It's a little rough around the edges and touch-and-go, a handful of riders are clearly better than the rest of the field, and maybe it is not as exciting as the others, but give it some time to maturate and grow…

--Basically, I guess you could look at it like a compact version of alpine's downhill combined with a slalom-like scoring aestetic…but wouldn't that make it more like a compact combined super-combined?

--I was initially concerned with how many spectators would show up for the Paralympic events and I was not sure how the Russians would receive them, but the crowds have been plentiful and nearly full most of the time, and have shown to be very warm and receptive. Very, very happy to see that…

--Ben Tudhope (Austrailia)…how adorable and bada**… :3

--You wouldn't think Austraila would have so many skilled snowboarders, but hey…

--A very good gold medal game between the U.S. and Russia in sledge hockey. (Wait, there was no women's division? Aw…). The former did better than either U.S. squad in the Olympics, beat both Canada and Russia, and got the gold in the end, but do they get the praise, attention, or even the "hero" talk?

--So Canada is the world's best in curling no matter what or in any version or discipline now, huh?

Sigh…Day 10 of 10 (Or as a whole, Day 24 of 24…or is that 25 of 25?)

--Hey, just another Russian sweep in cross-country (10 km free - Standing). The ages: 16, 42, 19… Hey, just another OG getting it done…

--Whoa, there's more than five sponsors…

--Russia spanked the field by a galaxy's length with 80 medals: 30 golds, 28 silvers, 22 bronzes. Second place? Ironically, Ukraine, with 25 medals: 5 golds, 9 silvers, 11 bronzes… The hosts won more medals than the rest of the top five nations combined and outside of Ukraine's 11, no other won double-digit medals of any color (and only the top seven had total medal counts in that range). Talk about a home-field advantage!

Closing Ceremony

--The Closing Ceremony in one word: abstractalicious.

--Very cool segment with the multi-colored performers and their making of the sport symbols, video games (Tetris? You ingenious bastards…), and their retro robotic popping. They did a really solid job transitioning between the segments and having everything add up in the end.

--From "Impossible" to "I'm possible"… I like that…

--That's right, Lite-Brite Cossacks 'n' B-Boys. Top THAT, Beijing!

--With a more "full", loose Ceremony and the (heartfelt) thanking of the volunteers, this feels more like a Closing Ceremony for the Olympic and Paralympics as a whole.

--That calligrapher/painter has mad skills. He paints better and with more feeling than some people with full use of their hands and arms. Actually, that can be said about many artists with a disability…

--It is only appropriate that it is raining as the Olympic Flame is extinguished in Sochi one more time.

--I know that the Olympic C.C. was neck-and-neck with Vancouver's and had those not-totally-alive mascots, but this Closing Ceremony may have been the very best one that I have seen (even if it technically for the Paralympics). After everything, I really do consider this to be the true conclusive C.C. for the Olympic experience as a whole for Sochi.

And thus, this concludes not only the Sochi 2014 Paralympics and the Olympics as a whole, but also HardDoor's Sochi 2014 Para-/Olympic Blog. I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has read this journal of sorts these past couple of weeks (as well as putting up with some of the delays) and I hope that you enjoyed it and both Games as much as I have.

I have always wanted to attempt something like this in the past and was unsure if I would be able to do so this time, especially with my lack of hype for Sochi and time. Thankfully, I was able to and it has been one of the best times I have had blogging at HD. The Games were great and despite a couple of annoying problems both new and perennial, NBC did a decent to good job overall with their broadcasting of them. The commentators were a big plus and the technical side of their presentation was solid, but the same narrative overkill and ceremony chopping routines have to go, not to mention that the Paralympics need far better support than what the network gave them.

I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to actually catch most of the events this time and find new ways to chronicle it, which of itself provided for a great learning experience. I will be keeping my fingers crossed for the Rio 2016 Summer Games, so hopefully I'll be able to cover that, as well.

Once again, thank you so much for reading!


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