What will we remember from the Sochi Olympics?


My photo of Denis Ten at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships. He will compete in Sochi.

As the world gets set to turn its eyes to Russia, there are several question marks surrounding these Games.

Will they be safe?

Will they be free from cheating and corruption?

Will police crack down on equal rights protests?

Will the infrastructure hold up?

There is so much to take attention away from the athletes at these Games.

Let’s put the focus back on the athletes. I have been lucky enough to cover two Olympic Games and both times I was blown away by the beauty of sport at the highest level.

There is such artistry in elite athletics. Even if you’re not a sports fan, there is much to admire.

I can’t wait to watch Denis Ten of Kazakhstan, seen above, perform in figure skating. He was the star of the World Figure Skating  Championships in London last March.

He won silver behind Canada’s Patrick Chan, but his performance was so superlative, a petition was started after the championship to try to get him the gold. Chan fell apart in the long program and many felt Ten should have been the winner.

Chan’s short program points kept him on top even after a terrible long skate.

What I remember about Chan’s short was not what it looked like, but what it sounded like.

An arena full of fans were stone silent when he was performing and his edges were so crisp, you could hear them chisel the ice. Like a bow across violin strings, Chan actually made the sound of the sport as delightful as the sight. It was a sound experience not to be forgotten.

What sports are you planning to watch?

I’ve always loved short-track speed skating, but when covering it at the Turin Olympics, I found it to be completely mesmerizing.

Apolo Anton Ohno, the most decorated American athlete at the Winter Games, was breathtaking to behold. He has retired, but there are many excellent speedskaters to watch, including Canadian Charles Hamelin.

Are you excited about the start of the Olympics?

Armstrong master of deception

So Oprah landed one of the biggest interviews of her career.

Her two-hour interview with disgraced cyclist and banned competitor Lance Armstrong is set to air on her OWN network Thursday and Friday.

I’d like to know why Armstrong picked Oprah Winfrey to confess to cheating after repeatedly and under oath stating that he did not?

Did he figure he could manipulate the interview?

You can bet his lawyer’s prepared him for every answer.

At this point, few have any trust of Armstrong. Is he remorseful? And if it appears that way, is it real remorse?

He already apologized to the cancer organization he founded, Livestrong.

“Heartfelt and sincere,” is how Livestrong spokesman Katherine McLane described his apology,  Associated Press reported.

He was ruthless, though, in keeping his secrets under wraps, cutting team members loose if they didn’t do what he wanted, ripping his critics in public, calling reporters on the phone to yell at them if their coverage was negative.

The Denver Post’s Troy Renck reported this critical information.

“Armstrong had brilliant lawyers and an ingenious cloak. Attacks on Armstrong became attacks on his war against cancer. No one can ever dispute the impact Armstrong has had in raising money for research and serving as an inspiration for cancer victims. But he benefited from Livestrong as well.

“It was part of his defense against detractors. How dare you hurl accusations after everything I’ve overcome? Why would I take drugs after nearly dying from cancer?

“Those who knew the truth became not flies on his windshield, but bugs that had to be stomped into the cement. Armstrong’s status freed him to bully those who questioned him. He used the trust he had built up as an icon to win the court of public opinion against former teammates, competitors and journalists.”

One could argue that Armstrong was the best of a sport plagued by cheaters. If he didn’t take performance-enhancing drugs, he wouldn’t have been anywhere near the top because so many did dope.

If everyone else is doping along with you and you win, are you still the top cyclist because there is a level playing field of cheats?

With such scrutiny now, is it time to remove cycling from the Olympics, as Canadian IOC member Dick Pound suggests?

I say yes.

The sport is poisoned. It has no place in the Olympic Games.

Do you agree?

And how could the International Cycling Union not have known about the disgracefully high numbers of cyclists that cheated? Further investigation of what the union knew needs to take place.

Will you watch the Oprah interview?