The Olympic organizing committee received 200,000 volunteer applications from 101 countries.
Volunteers must be fluent in English and may assist in transportation, medical services, doping-control, servicing the delegation, technology, ceremonies, press operations, accreditation, events, sport, National Olympic and Paralympic committees, arrivals and departures, language services, Olympic and Paralympic Family services, and protocol.
Guards wanted to enjoy the show too
Spectators and media gathered outside the gate separating the Olympic Village from the rest of Sochi. Security guards and volunteers backed people as far away from the gates as they could.
Then the fireworks went off.
The crowd moved back to the gate with DSLRs, point-and-shoot cameras and iPhones ready. This time, the guards joined in the fun.
Taking a break from their usual duties, the men wearing dark green camouflage and military hats briefly stopped watching the crowd to watch the view through their iPhones.
Two guards snapped their own and each other’s pictures with the fireworks in the background. They checked a media outlet’s video recording of the fireworks show. They
also complied with a spectator’s request to take a picture with the fireworks in the background. And then the two guards and the spectator smoked cigarettes together.
As the fireworks ended, it wasn’t those two guards who pushed people away from the gate, but an Olympic volunteer decked out in a purple volunteer jumpsuit.
The ugly uniform
Bas is Dutch. And he hated the German Opening Ceremony outfits – not because of the history between the Dutch and Germany, but because they were “ugly in every sense of the word.”
“You can call it colorful or whatever. I call it ugly. They were not fashionable at all,” Bas said as he played with the collar of what he said was the first shirt he could find in his bag this morning.
While watching the Opening Ceremony with his friend in the Dutch House, Bas said he almost spit up his drink when he saw Germany in yellow blending into blue jackets, red pants and a red hat with the German flag running across its center.
The designer, Willy Bogner, told USA Today the inspiration for the outfits was not political, but rather an ode to the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich, Germany.
For Bas, it was not about the political statement either. He merely thought the outfits were terrible.
Tobias Bürger is babysitting during the Olympic Games.
He watched from the corner of the dance hall on the Louis Olympia as 40 students danced in circles under the disco ball. He is supervising a group of young German athletes as they support their country’s Olympic team.
“They just met each other yesterday. This will help them get to know each other better,” Bürger said. “The dance moves aren’t the best, but they are having a good time.”
The power outlets on the fourth floor of the Louis Olympia were occupied. Scattered along the walls, passengers’ faces were illuminated by their phones—they had found the free Wi-Fi.
Katya Bodrova stood beside the stairs with iPhone attached to her hand.
“I’ve been here for three days. I think I can live with no Internet, but I’ve been down here all three days,” she said. “I need to check Instagram and Snapchat.”
Pins for drinks
The first two days Valeria Tsyganova visited Sochi, she collected 21 Olympic pins. Working with visitors to Russia, she found out the nicer she was, the more pins she was given—and the more pins she had to barter with.
“It’s crazy! People go nuts over these pins,” she said. “If I plan it out, I can use these for food and drinks until I leave. Some even trade them for kisses.”
Lost in translation
George Lobov is working as a translator in Sochi. The go-to man for communication, Lobov learned very quickly the job isn’t easy.
“Irish accents are impossible to understand, and sometimes I just nod at them to make them feel like I know what they are saying,” Lobov said. “It’s hard speaking English all day then going back to Russian after work. I’ll start conversations with my friends in English, and they will just stare at me.”