Nine days until the opening ceremony in Sochi, Russia and Russains living in the Sacramento area are on the edge of their seats with anticipation.
“I think this is the most significant event in recent years in Russia,” said Vlad Kirgiz, with Sacramento Russian Media.
“All my friends we just can’t wait to see the opening of the Olympic Games,” Natalia Owens, Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation in Sacramento, said Wednesday.
Owens spent many happy vacations with her family in Sochi.
“It’s like going to Hawaii [there],” Owens said.
That was before Russia spent roughly $7 billion to create an Olympic Village in the western standard of comfort.
“Once you visit Sochi you will want to go again and again,” Kirgiz said.
Many Russians hope the Sochi Games will show what Russia is now and begin to change the way many think of their homeland.
“I believe there is still a Cold War mentality when it comes to covering events or the life of the Russian society and standard traditions and a lot of misunderstandings,” Kirgiz said.
Local Russians do hope Americans traveling to their country will do a little research, learn some of the language and make friends with the locals.
“To go with fear doesn’t really help so I hope people will go with the notion enjoying the vent,” said Owens.
“The Russian society has lived in isolation for so many years that Russians will very curious about meeting Americans and every foreigner,” Kirgiz said.
For many in our area, there is a lot more on the line than gold, silver and bronze. These Olympic Games, if safe and fun, could being to bridge the gaps many believe still plague the Russian community.