“Yes, love, ….I knew that feeling of love which is the essence of the soul, for which no object is needed. And I know that blissful feeling now too. To love one’s neighbours; to love one’s enemies. To love everything….” ― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
Friday night’s theme was love: romantic love, the love of sport, patriotism, and tradition. With the first portion of the 2014 opening ceremony centered around a girl named Lubov (which is Russian for love), the program then continued with a brief and very selective history of Russia depicted through animation and theatrical performances. It was new IOC president Thomas Bach who stole the show. His first speech at an Olympic Games was the first one of its kind that I can remember. Never do I recall an IOC President speaking from the heart and making such bold statements. It gives me hope for the IOC. Perhaps I am naive.
It was a safe program; and while it wasn’t as visually appealing as Vancouver’s, it edges out Danny Boyle’s disaster of London two years ago. But I was puzzled by the persons chose to carry the cauldron into the stadium. Were the Protopopovs slighted because they defected from the former Soviet Union? Where was Ekaterina Gordeeva? I was, however, very pleased to see that Irina Rodnina was chosen to light the cauldron with hockey star Vladislav Tretiak.
Day one of the Olympics is usually jam-packed with events. But after rising at 5:00 AM to watch live competition, I was done by the middle of the afternoon. I don’t remember the first day’s schedule of events being so sparse. So what was yesterday’s highlight for me? Sven Kramer and team Netherlands sweeping the men’s 5,000 meters in speed skating. I love watching the Dutch speed skaters. They are a joy to watch.
Tomorrow will be a jam-packed day of Olympics to watch. I’m staying in my PJ’s and ordering take-out. Sochi is my Sunday sanctuary!
Faster, Higher, Stronger.