From Russia with Love

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No flowers, no chocolates, but I did get a day off for Valentine’s Day in Sochi.

Earlier last week, I stood in a slow-moving line at one of the ticket booths in order to buy a ticket to see the Friday morning curling draw. I really wanted to watch Canada play Norway, aka Team Awesome Pants.

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Sadly, Norway’s good pants must have been in the wash, since they were wearing some still-loud but not as stylish floral pattern.

I am by no means a curling expert, but have tried the sport a couple of times, attended the World Championships when they were in Victoria as well as a Continental Cup, and worked as mix zone supervisor for wheelchair curling during the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. But I think I just confused the poor American couple who asked for help understanding how the scoring worked.

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Canada made some amazing shots to beat Norway, but the really exciting sheet turned out to be Sweden v China (who were undefeated after 4 games by this point). The arena never did fill up, and all of the Canadian and USA fans left after their games were over, but Sweden v China was a nail-biter that went to extra ends, with Sweden eventually emerging triumphant.

After a bit of shopping and pin trading (a long-standing Olympic tradition), I headed over to Iceberg once again to help out with the mix zone for the men’s free skate. Wow, I thought ice hockey mixed zones were intense but they’re a walk in the park compared to figure skating. I can’t even imagine how much crazier it would have been if Plushenko had stayed in the competition.

The highlight of the night — and I will count this as my Valentine’s Day gift from the universe — was riding the bus back to the Main Press Center at 1 a.m. and realizing that ohmygod that’s Kurt Browning on the bus with us! My inner fangirl was jumping up and down, but outwardly I remained calm and professional — unlike a few other volunteers during the competition who did ask the competing athletes for autographs/photos/hugs in the mixed zone. A big no-no!

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Erin McInnis Sharing stories and photos from the international volunteer perspective during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
@erin_braincandy

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