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Sports fans brim with pride Russia hosted 22nd Winter Olympics

February 24, 2014, 10:36 UTC+3 SOCHI
Sunday saw the host team’s triumph in the overall official standing with thirteen top awards and more medals on the aggregate to its credit than any of its rivals were able to win
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© EPA/HOW HWEE YOUNG

SOCHI, February 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian sports fans are literally brimming with pride their country has hosted the 22nd Winter Olympics.

Sunday, the last day of competitions, which ended with a gala evening show at the Fisht stadium and a fireworks display, saw the host team’s triumph in the overall official standing with thirteen top awards and more medals on the aggregate to its credit than any of its rivals were able to win. However, there is one more reason why the sports’ fans’ memories of the Sochi Games will stay green for quite a while. It’s the pleasant surprise their country has managed to do a really good job while hosting such a major international sports event.

“I liked everything. Well done, well built and really beautiful. I only wish everything that has been created here should stay in mint condition for years to the pleasure of visitors and guests,” a 30-year-old woman guest from Cherepovets, a major steel manufacturing centre in northern Russia said. “Firstly, everything is beautiful. Secondly, the operation of public transport is perfect. It was quite an experience to take a cableway ride up into the mountains. All these impressions of the Olympics will be with my throughout my life. I am brimming with pride my country was able to host high-class Olympics.”

A 59-yerar-old resident of Ufa, the capital of Bashkortostan, is somewhat surprised the Sochi Olympics have been organized in a way that made him feel the Games were underway some other place outside Russia.

“It will take some time to get used to the idea we can do such things, too, and to react to this as something quite ordinary. My grown-up son says everything is arranged in a way very different from what we often see in our country. There is the impression the people have changed over such a brief period of time. There is no discontent or anger and the general climate is unforgettable. Possibly we have not fully realized it yet, but all we’ve just seen will go down in history.”

A married couple from Belgorod, a city in Central Russia, shared a comparison of the summer Olympics in Moscow in 1980 and the Sochi winter Olympics of 2014.

“I was employed at the 1980 Olympics but I had virtually no chance to see anything at all then,” says a 67-year-old resident of Belgorod. “Heavy police cordons were everywhere. Here there are security guards, too, but they are dressed in sports clothes. Nothing of the sort could be seen in Moscow.

For some sports fans it was important to literally feel the Sochi Games with their own hands.

“One feels the certainty it is our Olympics. The Games have an unmistakable ethnic flavor. There are so many people around who speak Russian,” says a 45-year-old resident of Voronezh, Central Russia, who has brought his whole family to see the Games. “Many of the things that we have seen here have changed beyond recognition. The volunteers are great guys, well prepared. They are doing an excellent job. The emotion of the event that we are taking home is bound to last,” he said.

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