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February 2, 2014

Bearing the flame, bound for Sochi

(Continued)

LAKE PLACID —

CAMARADERIE

The pursuit of good sports, Caligiore said, is what our region is all about.

“We enjoy watching and supporting international competition. We know that, for instance, the Russians that we are trying to defeat in Sochi are the same athletes that have skied at Lake Placid venues and raced on Lake Placid tracks.

“This also tells us that all nations are closer and have more in common than you might otherwise think.

“This is why a luge athlete from India has been training and traveling with us the entire season.

“This is why the Swiss lugers train and travel with Germany.

“This is about the level of brotherhood and sisterhood that’s only evident at the Olympic Games. And all of this camaraderie is what you bring to Russia when you come from Lake Placid.”

And so it goes to Sochi.

TRAVEL CONCERNS

Olympians are taught to put aside differences, play together and play fair. Olympic athletes do receive international training as part of their Olympic oath. With it comes an apolitical point of view. 

“We are not allowed to make political statements,” Hamlin, 27, said of differing views they likely will see and experience or be asked about while in Russia.

“It jeopardizes our status as an athlete.”

The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) prepares them through an Ambassador Program, she said.

“We’re not there to be politicians.”

The Sochi games are set to begin in a stretch of mountain lands next to the Black Sea, a place often thought of as the “Russian Riviera.”

At seaside venues, Russia built the indoor skating arenas and the Olympic Park in the Imeretinsky Valley. About 30 miles north, connected by high-speed trains, they’ve established the skiing, sled racing and ski jumping venues at Krasnaya Polyana.

Caligiore said USA Luge teams have been to the Sochi track three times in the last few years.

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