Olympic athletes visit local one-year countdown event for Sochi Games

Olympic athletes visit local one-year countdown event for Sochi Games

Credit: Getty Images

Olympic athletes visit local one-year countdown event for Sochi Games

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by ALLEN SCHAUFFLER / KING 5

KING5.com

Posted on February 7, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 7 at 5:26 PM

It seems like the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics were just yesterday, with Queen Elizabeth and James Bond parachuting into Olympic history and David Beckham kicking off the Games by delivering the torch down the Thames in a speedboat.

Even the two-week winter sports party that was Vancouver 2010 seems like it wasn’t as long ago as three years.

But today we turn our eyes to Sochi, Russia, and the opening ceremonies of the 2013 Olympic Winter Games, which are held one year from today.

Ceremonies marking the “one-year” countdown were held in Sochi. President Vladimir Putin toured sites and fired a top man on the Olympic Committee over construction delays and a ballooning, $50 billion price tag.

Don’t worry, Putin said the Games will go on as scheduled.

“I'm sure the builders of those venues have all the resources to complete them on time,” said Putin.

There were also festivities in Seattle, where Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance employees celebrated Sochi and the company’s new Olympic sponsorship, or “partnership”.

Employees had a chance to snap pictures with Olympic royalty: gymnast Kerri Strug and swimmer Nathan Adrian from Bremerton.
They are summer sports athletes of course, but still excited for the Winter Games.

"The moves they do on the half pipe now,” Strug said in amazement, “the flips, the aerial skiers...they’re better than me!"

Adrian said with a laugh, “It’s colder, I've heard that! It’s just different, but it’s still so exciting.”

The only winter athlete on hand, Cle Elum's Patrick Deneen, definitely has his eye on the calendar.

“This is really the first round of olympic interviews we're getting into right now," Deneen said. "It is crazy to start the whole experience over again, but exciting!”

Deneen, currently #3 in the world in Freestyle/moguls, wants to erase the memory of a crash-and-burn last-place finish in Vancouver in 2010.

“I wish Sochi was tomorrow, I'm skiing so well right now,” Deneen stated.

For now, though, he flies out tonight for a World Cup (and Olympic test-event) competition in Sochi this weekend.

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