Russians will be remembered as frank and tactful after Sochi

Fireworks explode over the Fisht Olympic Stadium during the closing ceremony for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, February 23, 2014.
Fireworks explode over the Fisht Olympic Stadium during the closing ceremony for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on Feb. 23.
Credit: Getty Images

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

The saddest day of the Olympic Games is the last one. To be honest, I did not expect to see so many gloomy faces hours before the Closing Ceremony. A few young women are crying. Even in McDonald’s, they are playing sad music.

I spend my last day at the Sochi Games meeting with volunteers from across the world to find out what they think about the Russian hospitality.

“Russians are really nice,” Ruifeng Guo from Beijing tells me. “The moment I will always remember happened on the Sochi Medals Plaza the day I arrived. It was draped with a big Chinese flag and some locals asked me to pose with them for a photograph; they said China and Russia are good friends forever. It was very sweet.”

Julien Gangon from Quebec, Canada, says the Russians he met are the best ambassadors for their country.

“They spoke of so many good things about Russia,” he said. “I learned, for example, that Russia still celebrates an ‘Old New Year,’ a New Year celebration according to an old calendar system, and that the day of the Closing Ceremony – February 23 – is a holiday called Defender of the Fatherland Day, something like ‘Men’s Day’ that doesn’t exist where I’m from.”

I am glad to learn that Russians’ bold frankness, a character trait of ours often misinterpreted as being offensive, was finally being understood – at least by Fernando Cole Vaughn from Los Angeles: “I love how Russians find a balance between straightforwardness and tact. I mean, there are people who speak their mind, and that’s not always good. Russians can say they don’t like you or what you’re doing. But they will do it in a way that you won’t take offense at all – they’re trying to help you out.”

“I was extremely surprised at how open Russians are,” David Boudeling from the Netherlands continues the theme. “Russians seem distant and non-talkative. Maybe it’s so if you see them from the outside. But from the inside, they are really open.”

“But sadly, not many Russians I met spoke English. It’s a pity because I found each of them to be so interesting,” he added.

All the volunteers I speak with say they hope to come back to Russia in a few years’ time to see how Sochi will have developed since the Olympics.

Boudeling continues: “Here I visited an exhibition on the different regions of Russia, and it really impressed me. Now I’m thinking of traveling around the country. I hope I will manage to do it.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Federal mediator joins Met Opera labor talks as…

Unions representing the orchestra and chorus of the Met Opera agreed to have a federal mediator join labor talks on Thursday as a threatened lockout loomed.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

Movies

Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a refreshingly…

Marvel is sitting so high on a cash mountain that it's now thrown $170 million at the relatively obscure and very silly title "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…