Gregorian Chants

From Prairie Village to Sochi: Bill Hancock’s emails home, Part 2

Updated: 2014-02-07T17:38:11Z

By VAHE GREGORIAN

The Kansas City Star

Prairie Village’s Bill Hancock, the executive director of the College Football Playoff, began volunteering with the USOC at the Olympics in 1984 and is in Sochi. Here’s the latest excerpt of his daily email to friends and colleagues:

Thursday, Feb. 6

Another awesome orange-and-purple-y sunrise. There were the exact right number of clouds to make it spectacular. Metaphor for life: a few clouds are necessary. The silvery mountains were out. Oh, my goodness. 

•  Volunteer du jour: Oleg. Round, actually the roundest Russian I have seen. Maybe looked a little like Curly. Very happy face. Stern. Thumbed through my backpack with great flair. When done, he said, “have a pretty good day.” I love when the Russians try to speak English. They love it (when) I try to speak Russian.

• Went to figure skating competition tonight. Lovely arena, nice crowd. They DO cheer in the press box at every Olympics, and the Russian volunteers and “media” were no exception. Actually I wanted to cheer for their guy, too. … Those empty seats you see in the lower level probably were held for Olympic Family — sponsors, etc. Packed house upstairs where the regular people sit.

• Public address announcements typical Olympics first-class. In English and Russian.

• For special events, the IOC prints tickets for the press box, so it won’t get over-crowded. Journalists must have a ticket in addition to their credential. The IOC allocates tickets to each country, and we give them to our journalists. I took a couple of extra tickets to the skating, to help any American reporters who forgot their tickets or didn’t know they needed one. Found only one American journalist stranded outside in the cold tonight. It was Elvis Stojko, two-time Olympic silver medalist who is working here with Yahoo!. He was pleading with the security guard — very politely—who kept saying, “must have ticket” and clearly didn’t know him from Elvis Costello.  (He was named after that other Elvis, by the way.)

• The title of each person’s music is printed on the jumbotron. One read, “Wolfgang’s 5th Symphony.”

• We took seats in the tabled media section. My theory is to sit at a coveted “tabled” position — it has power and video monitor — to hold the seat and give it up to an American journalist arrives late and doesn’t have a seat. Gave ours to a Yahoo! reporter (side note: the reporter doesn’t care much for the event that is my professional life back home) and his colleague tonight. …

• What a privilege to be here! Every day is an adventure.

To reach Vahe Gregorian, call 816-234-4868 or send email to vgregorian@kcstar.com. On Twitter: @vgregorian.

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