Day 5 was like the rest. Up at 5:00a and breakfast at 6:00a. It was a real struggle to climb out of bed, but this was the Olympics! This was also our last day of events. So it was on to the town of Pragaleto in the mountains.
On the agenda for this day was the Nordic Combined (a combination of Ski Jumping and Cross Country) and Ice Hockey (Latvia vs USA)
We arrived in Pragaleto around 8:35a. This gave is some time before the competition began. We watched some athletes warm up from the Ski Jump and there was some entertainment provided while we waited. The acrobat in the picture actually does this with no support, only a ladder.
The jumps were set up and ready to go and so were the slope. The weather was cooperating for the moment and the jumps had begun. The competition consisted of 11 teams of 4 men each. The first group was one member of each team jumping and their score posted. The second group would consist of the second member of each team and their scores were added to the first score for a total and placement. It was the same for the 3rd and 4th groups. The first round ended when all four members of each team had jumped once. We made it through the first round just fine and the second round got under way when the winds began to pick up. It caused some delays and they tried several times to resume the jumps until it just became to windy to continue. We did not get to see the Cross Country portion because they use the results of the Ski Jumping to determine the starting position of the skiers in the Cross Country. We were told to hold on to our tickets because the competition would be rescheduled for a later date. Of course we would not be there for it because we were scheduled to leave the following day. We didn't mind though. We had made the trip to the Winter Olympics and enjoyed ourselves immensely and it wasn't over yet. One more event to go.
More Ski Jumping pictures. These are pics of the Venue, Rings in the Snow, the Finishing area after landing, and two more people we met. They are both Americans living and working in Moscow. They rode back to Torino with us which saved them trouble of dealing with the trains and gave us the opportunity to get to know them a little better.
The ride back to Torino was a slow one, but not because of traffic, but because of the winding roads through the mountains. But we made it just fine. Again it was back to our reserved parking area...wish I had gotten a picture of it. Boy wouldn't that have been an exciting picture.
On this day we took streetcar number 4 to reach our destination. The Hockey Game was scheduled to take place in the Palasport arena which is located right next to the Stadium used for the Opening and Closing ceremonies. We tried to get a glimpse of the inside of the stadium, but they were practicing for the closing ceremony and no one was allowed inside. From the outside it is a nice looking stadium, even at night.
We made it to the venue with time to spare. We roamed around the grounds before it was time to enter the arena. We were hungry, so we went into the snack tent to get something to eat while we waited. When we went in, there was only a few people in the tent which actually turned out to be some members of the Canadian Men and Women Hockey Teams. One of the player gave our son a Canadian pin which we added to our pin collection.
Before we knew it there were people from all over the world, sort of, coming into the tent. There was some from Czech, Italy, Germany, Latvia, Canada, and the United States all getting along and having a wonderful time. There was a live band. Everyone was having a good time, but not once did we encounter a disruptive individual or group of individuals. They were all singing, dancing, and laughing together. There were many times when you actually forget there were differences between nations in certain parts of the world. If only life was that way all the time.
Well eventually the party came to an end and it was time to move into the arena. The United States was taking on Latvia and the crowd was ready for some action, especially the Latvians. It would appear that over half the arena was filled with Latvians. But not to worry, they weren't all as Ugly as this guy posing with our son. I'm talking about the guy standing on the left...
We made it to our seats and pretty good seats they were. Center ice, right above where the players enter, and right directly behind the players boxes. The ice and equipment was being prepped and the crowd was still pouring in.
It was now time for the teams to enter. The US was expected to have a relatively easy time with the Latvians, but the Latvian players had other plans for the way this match would go. The match finally got under way and both teams were skating hard. The US was the first to score. They immediately added a second goal and it appeared this would be a route. But the Latvian fans would not have it and really began to lay on the support for their team. It was 3-2 before the US players realized what was going on. The only other scoring was another goal by the US and the game ended in a 3-3 tie. As far as the Latvians players and fans were concerned, this was just as good as a victory. But in the end, we all shook hands, hugged, and left the arena still enjoying the moment of being a part of the Olympic experience.
Here are a few more pictures from the Hockey experience. Looks like someone had a few to many Cola Lights at the party.
Unfortunately this was our last event to attend at this Olympics. Time to head back to the room, which we arrived at around 12:45a. Luckily we would be able to sleep in the next morning before heading back to Germany.
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