Montreal. Barcelona. Lake Placid. Vancouver. Sydney. Beijing. London. All notable cities that have played host to Olympic Games — all of which 67-year-old George Reed-Dellinger has attended, among several others.
But Sochi? Reed-Dellinger, a media analyst in Washington, D.C., and Olympic superfan, called Sochi an “adventure.”
Reed-Dellinger attended his first Olympics in Montreal in 1976, and he’s been hooked on attending as many games as he can ever since. This year, he’ll have attended 13 of the last 20 games. Being born and bred in the D.C. metropolitan area, which in the realm of professional sports has had decades of rough times making it frustrating to sports fans, he said it’s nice to root for “the cream of the youth competing in pretty rigorous games.”
At the Olympics, “I don’t have to worry about RGIII, Strasburg, Ovi, and I don’t have to worry about the fact that the Wizards stink,” he said.
The last time a Russian city played host to the Olympic Games was in 1980 in Moscow. Reed-Dellinger didn’t attend. In fact, the United States and 64 other countries boycotted the games in response to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.
But he has been to Russia once prior to the 2014 Olympics. It was for a cruise that stopped in St. Petersburg. Still, he thinks his stay in Sochi will be significantly different.
Which leads us to the question: Where is Sochi anyway?
At this point on the day of the opening ceremonies, most at least know the city of little more than 340,000 residents is in Russia. But to pinpoint it further, it’s on the Black Sea and actually one of the few places in the country with subtropical conditions.
All host cities of the games come with their own set of issues, and Sochi is no exception: terror threats, weird bathroom situations and unprepared conditions, just to name a few. Part of this Reed-Dellinger — who is attending his 13th Olympic games in Sochi — told TheBlaze can be the plight of the winter games, which often take place in smaller towns.
In light of the town’s unique issues, there are a few things Reed-Dellinger is doing differently to attend the Sochi Games.
Usually, he manages to find someone who knows someone to rent a space from, but not this time.
Instead, he decided to buy an official Olympics package to set up his board — and he’s glad he did.
“I’m hearing a lot of nightmares about hotels and readiness in Sochi,” he said when TheBlaze spoke with him at 90 hours and counting before he left (as an analyst he’s into numbers so he had the hours down).
There is a rigorous process for choosing a city to host the games (just look at what London did), but Reed-Dellinger breaks down why a city might want the huge undertaking of playing host, aside from the obvious honor. While some cities leave ghost towns of the Olympic villages after the teams pull out, Reed-Dellinger thinks Sochi is gunning for the games to jumpstart its economy and drive it as a tourist destination.
Compared to summer Olympic events, Reed-Dellinger said choosing what winter events to watch in person needs to be a bit more strategic.
“I’ve learned you go to events that unfold right in front of you,” he said, like ice skating, hockey and curling.
It’s more difficult to be a spectator for some skiing events, luge and bobsled. These, he said, are better to watch on TV when a camera is following the athlete at all moments of the event. Spectators might only see the start, finish or some snippet in between of these events, depending on the course and where viewing is allowed.
As for security at Sochi, Reed-Dellinger said “this is going to be adventurous.”
“I’m assuming that strolling around is going to be highly limited …but I’ll be strolling around,” he said.
He laid out four points regarding his thoughts on threats of terrorism and attending the Sochi Games:
- We don’t live our lives in fear.
- By all reports Putin pretty much has this locked down.
- Anyone who has been to venue in recent years knows that when you first show someone ticket that it’s about a mile before you get to seat.
- I stand a greater chance at getting hurt at a Redskins game in Philadelphia than I do in Sochi.
Overall, Reed-Dellinger doesn’t think terror threats will put a damper on the 2014 events — and he’s already looking forward to summer 2016.
“I got my place in Rio lined up,” he said of the games that will be hosted in Rio de Janerio, Brazil in a couple years.