Notes from Sochi

  • Updated: February 15, 2014 - 6:58 PM

NOTES

For snow, see Pyeongchang

The people of Pyeongchang, South Korea, can confidently promise two things when they host the Olympics: It’ll be cold, and there’ll be no concerns about snow. While a warm spell has created challenging conditions for the skiers and snowboarders competing in the mountains above Sochi at the 2014 Olympics, there has been heavy snow in the region that will host the next Winter Games in 2018.

Kim Yong-woon, a former South Korea national ski team member who is mayor of a small village in the Pyeongchang region, has been visiting Sochi to inspect the infrastructure and said the Black Sea resort area has a summery feel.

“It’s a winter sports Games — there should be snow everywhere,” Kim said. “Pyeongchang is the best when it comes to weather. It snowed heavily this week, and we’re expecting more.”

Billie Jean King will get there yet

Billie Jean King will attend the Closing Ceremony.

King, who didn’t travel to the Opening Ceremony because of her mother’s death, will join American speed skaters Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden on Feb. 23 as part of President Barack Obama’s official U.S. delegation.

King called it a “privilege” to attend.

“I will use this trip to honor the memory of my mother and to further my mission of equality,” King said.

Russia has been widely criticized for passing a national law last year that banned gay “propaganda” to minors. King and two other openly gay athletes — Brian Boitano and Caitlin Cahow — were selected for the delegation at the Opening Ceremony.

It’s a drug-free Olympics so far

With no positive tests recorded more than halfway through the Sochi Olympics, the IOC believes the stringent anti-doping net put in place for the Games has scared cheaters away.

Arne Ljungqvist, chairman of the IOC medical commission, said Saturday he was not surprised there have been no doping cases at the Winter Games.

He said the beefed-up program of targeted pre-Games and pre-competition testing was working.

“It’s expected that people don’t cheat and those who do are not here,” Ljungqvist said. “It shows that the program is pretty efficient and serves as a deterrent. I hope it will stay that way throughout the Games.”

Through Friday night, Sochi organizers had conducted 1,799 drug tests, more than half of the planned total of 2,453 for the entire Olympics.

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