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Is that a wolf in the Winter Olympics dorm?

WILDLIFE WATCHING — It's not clear whether Olympic athletes are seeing wolves or whether the latest news is another indication of the stray dog problem in Sochi.

Either way, the video a U.S. Olympic athlete has posted of a wolf-like critter roaming the halls of her dorm is going viral.

Somebody's offering food to the critter.

Or there's a sheep in somebody's room.

The video reportedly was tweeted by Kate Hansen, a member of the USA luge team.

UPDATE: The LA Times says a joker was at the bottom of this.

Bjornsens looked good in Spokane years before Olympics

WINTER SPORTS —They gave us a preview of their world-class talent during Langlauf on Mount Spokane.  

Erik Bjornsen — and his sister Sadie — of Washington's Methow Valley are skiing their hearts out in the nordic events at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.  But winning Langlauf, the annual 10K classic event at Mount Spokane, was one of their milestone achievements to get there.

The photo above shows Erik competing today in Sochi. A photo below shows Erik in 2008 at the age of 16 when he was the overall Langlauf champ. He's posing with the top woman that year, Annie Pokorny of Spokane.

The photo at left shows Sadie Bjornsen at the age of 13 when she won the Langlauf women's division — the youngest competitor to take the Langlauf crown.

See today's story about the Bjornsen's attraction to a college in Alaska that's primed them for international competition.

See my story on their connection with the Spokane Langlauf.

Click "continue reading" to see photos of Erik and Sadie Bjornsen in action during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

Sport of contrasts: ski hard, shoot straight

WINTER SPORTS — Biathlon is a sport that mixes the oil and water of revving up the heartbeat with aerobic cross-country skiing and then asking your circulatory system to calm down instantly for precise marksmanship with the .22-caliber rifle you must carry with a special harness on your back. Repeat.

The sport was born into the Winter Olympics from its roots in Scandinavian military operations.

In modern times, it may be the ultimate shooting sport.

Where can you check out biathlon in the Inland Northwest?


You can go ahead and admit it

You believe that one day of training is all it would take for you to learn how to steer a bobsled.

How to sound like you know hockey

Do not even consider comparing tomorrow's U.S. vs. Russia game to 1980's matchup.

Pink Eye Sidelines NBC’s Bob Costas

With both eyes reddened by an infection, NBC's Bob Costas said Tuesday he will sit out the network's prime-time Olympics coverage for at least one night. "Today" show anchor Matt Lauer will take his place in Sochi. Costas has been wearing glasses since the start of the Sochi Olympics because of an infection in his left eye. On Monday's broadcast, it was apparent the infection had spread to his other eye. It quickly became the topic of conversation on social media and sports talk radio. Costas said he simply couldn't do the job because his eyes had become blurry, watery and sensitive to light. "I'm walking around, I might as well be playing 'Marco Polo,'" he said in a telephone call to the "Today" show Tuesday. "I have no idea where I am"/Associated Press. More here.
Question: Have you ever had pink eye?

Fire when ready

A friend was watching the Olympics with his young grandson.

"He was fascinated with the biathlon," wrote my friend.

A bit later, the coverage switched to ski jumping.

After watching that for a bit, the little boy had a question: "When are they going to do the shooting."

If you were an Olympic figure skater

What music would you choose for your program?

(If you aren't secure about your sexuality, you can skip this one.)

Mother Russia Struts Her Stuff

One of the rings forming the Olympic Rings fails to open during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, today. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Music, dance and plenty of Russian bravado unleashed the ultimate achievement of Vladimir Putin’s Russia on Thursday — a Winter Olympics to showcase the best athletes on ice and snow that the world has to offer. The opening ceremony on the edge of the Black Sea and subsequent games are Russia’s chance to tell its story of post-Soviet resurrection to the world, and dispel the anger, fear and suspicion that has marred the buildup to these most expensive Olympics ever. Just after the sun set over the Caucasus Mountains and along the seashore just outside Fisht Stadium in the wet-paint-fresh Olympic Park, Russian TV star Yana Churikova shouted to a pre-show crowd still taking their seats: “Welcome to the center of the universe!”/Associated Press. More here.

Question: Are your feelings toward modern Mother Russia as intense as they were during the old USSR era?

Sliding and sweeping

One of my Idaho friends, John McTear, told me of a quote he really likes about Olympic curling.

"It combines the best aspects of bowling and housekeeping."

Sochi Olympics

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Get ready to complain

Last time, the Winter Olympics were in our time zone.

That meant some things, such as the two entertaining U.S./Canada hockey games, could be watched live at a prime viewing hour.

This year, the people in charge of TV coverage from Russia will have some tough choices to make. The likelihood that they will make everyone happy is approximately zero.

It's not the first time this has come up, of course. But decades ago, you could sometimes avoid finding out how certain events turned out and then watch prime time replays with the sense of drama intact. For most, those days are gone.

One difference between Canada and U.S.

Though there are people who care, the vast majority of Americans are not obsessed about who did and did not get named to the U.S. hockey team for the upcoming winter Olympics.

In Canada, from what I gather, media discussion about the makeup of their team is virtually inescapable and it has been going on for a long, long time.

Winter Olympics?

Good morning, Netizens…

David Horsey portrays the winter olympics in a different light.

Here is something to consider: how many of the ski events were canceled or delayed during the winter olympics because it RAINED?

Is it true that all the snow that should have packed the slopes near Whistler in BC ended up rerouted to New York City?

I get it! Next year they are going to cross-train Olympic competitors in the ski slalom on both water and snow. That should solve the problem, don’t you think?


The Sustainable Olympics

Though our current climate doesn’t inspire such, it’s time to get excited about the Winter Olympics - now just two days away.  Why are we excited about the Olympics you might be wondering, well, they aren’t calling these the “Sustainable Olympics” for nothing.  Ah, if only there were a sarcasm font.  But seriously, Vancouver has made great strides in their planning, engineering and construction,  and with current technologies and advancements in energy conservation, there’s no reason to doubt that they won’t be the greenest games of all time.  Does that matter in the long run though?  Is being the greenest Olympics really that big of a deal when a number like 300,000 tons (of carbon emissions that is) hangs over your head?  All the more reason to hold the Olympics in the same two places every four years. *John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images

Being as it is though, we’re here to examine these “Sustainable Olympics” and we’re going to rely heavily on a brilliant podcast from last month called the “Builidng Priorities Briefing” on Energy Priorities with host Denis Du Bois. 

Du Bois’ podcast really is a must listen as he dives into the lessons from the global spectacle, from the venues that Canada constructed for the Games, to the attitudes of Canadians here some seven years after winning the bid - spoiler alert, many are not happy.  Du Bois also interviews “green business guru” Martin Westerman on his thoughts about how to really make the games green.

Here’s what we took away.

When the flame above the Olympic Village is extinguished come February 28, people will look back and remember the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics not for the gold-medal performances, the emotion and the theatrics, but for the page upon page of documentation on how the Vancouver games set a sustainability goal of managing the environmental, social, and economic impacts and opportunities of the games and if and how that worked.  And that’s the legacy the organizers want.  They want to show other countries what they did, and how they did it, and they want other organizers to follow suit.  Du Bois comments, “for almost any green initiative, charges of greenwashing are inevitable. The best defense is a large dose of verifiable measures — like certified green buildings, or energy efficiency that can be monitored. Never forget: The world is watching.”