---- — Feb. 12, 2014
Athletes and families of Olympic athletes who are from the North Country are sharing with Press-Republican readers their thoughts on their experiences at the Sochi Games.
From Chris Mazdzer of Saranac Lake, a member of the USA Luge Team:
“The Olympics are primarily about athletic competition, a little bit about the host country, but more importantly always about the triumphs and hardships of the human race. I say this last statement because from my experiences the most memorable have been meeting people from around the world and sharing with them stories of how we all got to this point.
“Even if spectators are cheering for specific athletes as a whole, we are all here or watching at home because we want to see athletes perform at a level that we can only imagine in our minds.
“A couple days ago I watched women’s slopestyle in the lounge for USA athletes with a couple of the freeskiers. It was amazing to hear them cheer for every competitor and give praises to every girl that stomped a sweet trick.
“After watching with them, it dawned on me that the reason that I watch sports and athletic competitions is not to necessarily see a specific team win over another. But rather see individuals push themselves to the point where I can only imagine what it may feel like to be in their position. To see others be at a higher level than myself makes me want to push myself to do more and explore what is possible.
“The goal of a host country is not to build the most elaborate spectacle where people are constantly entertained by live performances, shows and competitions. The goal of an Olympic host city should be to provide areas where people can come together and unite in friendship. Even though different languages are spoken around the world. Laughter and respect can easily be communicated across every language.”