Konstantin and Elvina worked tirelessly to keep spirits high and prevent the obstacles -- bomb threats, a smoke bomb set off at one of the venues, hotels that had been booked in advance suddenly claiming they were under construction and turning away participants once they learned who we were -- from getting us down.
Tonight's closing ceremony marks the end of the 2014 Winter Olympics. From Bode Miller's tears to Kate Hansen's dance moves; from America's first Ice Dancing gold to Bob Costas's gold medal in freestyle pink eye; from Adelina Sotnikova's stunning win to Shaun White's even more stunning failure; from Olympic rings that failed to light to abandoned speed skating suits, the Sochi Games delivered a host of indelible memories and their fair share of controversial decisions. There was also controversy beyond the competition, including members of Pussy Riot being whipped by angry Cossacks and protests over Russia's anti-gay laws. Of course, from Jesse Owens foiling Hitler in 1936, to the Munich massacre in 1972, to dueling boycotts in 1980 and 1984, the Olympics have never been devoid of politics. Indeed, it's the collective attention they bring to both the best and worst of humanity that captures the public imagination.