It doesn’t take gold to enjoy the Sochi experience

Pilot Winston Watts of Jamaica team 1 salutes the crowd after he finishes a run during the Men's Two-Man Bobsleigh on Day 10 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics
Pilot Winston Watts of Jamaica team 1 salutes the crowd after he finishes a run during the Men’s Two-Man Bobsleigh on Day 10 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
Credit: Getty Images

Editor’s Note: The following piece is from the perspective of Metro World News reporter Alexey Shunaev.

These days, Sochi is at the center of global media attention, but at heart, it’s a typical Russian province. That’s why a crowd gathered around a Russian TV presenter visiting the other day. You can imagine the scene if a major pop star were to visit.

The trailer for the semi-documentary “Keep on Pushing,” about Jamaica’s bobsleigh team preparing for the Olympics, was watched by half a million people on YouTube, probably also thanks to Usain Bolt’s participation. The team did a crowdfunding campaign to go to Sochi, and they succeeded, collecting some $250,000, and off they went. The sleigh captained by Winston Watts had the worst results in all but the first heat. Still, the Jamaicans smiled and cheered, because their dream had come true.

“Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world. I know we have the fastest sleigh in the world,” a smiling Watts tells me. Asked how he can be this relaxed after a big race, Watts laughs for 10 seconds and says, “I’d love to explore the nightlife in Sochi.”

The same day, Vanessa Vanakorn (you may know her as violinist Vanessa-Mae) participated in giant slalom for Thailand, her father’s home country. Like the Jamaicans, she finished last. After finishing, she looked as happy as they did.

“I trained for just half a year before the Olympics,” she explained. “Three times I was close to falling, and before each gate, I was afraid I’d go the wrong way. But I managed to cross the finish line!”

Still, Vanessa-Mae and the Jamaicans got much more attention from the audience than the successful athletes.

“Injuring my hand would be a disaster, of course,” Vanessa-Mae continued. “But this is the Olympics, the dream of every child.”

Wherever they are held, the Olympics are truly unique. They can turn a big star into a loser, and make a loser into a big star. And both will be happy.


Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands and smashed shops open to looters in the popular tourist area of Baja, Mexico.


Apple iPhone 6 pre-orders hit record 4 million…

By Lehar Maan(Reuters) - Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million…


LAPD investigates complaint from detained 'Django' actress

The LAPD is investigating after "Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts accused police of violating her rights when they detained her.


Number of New York City smokers increase, topping…

For the first time since 2007, there are  more than one million smokers in New York City, according to the New York City Department of…


Newsflash: Corey Stoll is still not a man

In director Shaun Levy's "This Is Where I Leave You," Corey Stoll stars as the oldest of four adult children (the others are played by…


If you don't like Simon Pegg's new film,…

Simon Pegg goes all out in "Hector and the Search for Happiness" as the titular psychiatrist stymied by modern life who embarks on a globetrotting…


Art in Chelsea: Don't miss these 3 galleries

We selected three sure bets for seeing cool art in the galleries of Chelsea.


Robin Thicke blurs lines further with new 'Blurred…

"The reality is," said Robin Thicke about "Blurred Lines" in a court deposition, "Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song."


Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.


Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.


3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.


Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…


World's most hipster cities: Top 5

Travel blogger Adam Groffman tells us his picks for the Top 5 most hipster cities in the world.


The top 5 regrets recent high school grads…

College application season can seem like a blur for many students - as test prep, campus visits and filling out a seemingly endless stream of…


Tech execs tend to limit their kids' screen…

You probably got your iPad before Bill Gates's kids did.


Wellbeing: Daybreaker returns, Ray Rice jersey trade, Sweet…

  Now that Ray Rice is no longer with the Baltimore Ravens — or any other NFL team — after video footage surfaced showing him…