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Russian girl from Olympics opening ceremony broke her arm in training

Elizabeta Temnikova opening ceremony

Did you watch the opening ceremony for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi? Even though most of us saw it on delay, it was still quite a theatrical production to witness.

The beginning portion of the ceremony saw a Peter Pan-like production with sets suspended and moving across the stage to represent dreams. An 11-year-old girl, who we were told embodied the feminine soul of Russia, was a huge part of the show. She was up in the air “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” style and the NBC commentators Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira shared that she actually broke her arm during the training last fall.

The 11-year-old girl, Elizabeta Temnikova (spelling?) is from Krasnodar, north of Sochi. Russia actually had a hard time finding someone to do that role because they needed someone who was acrobatic and fearless and obviously willing to break a leg (or arm) for the production.

After breaking her arm, the young girl was asked whether she wanted out of the ceremony. Like a true gamer, she said no. NBC also shared that she wants to return to the Olympics one day as an athlete. Didn’t we all when we were 11?

Olympic torch lighter Irina Rodnina tweeted racist picture of Obamas months ago

Irina-RodninaFormer Russian Olympic figure skater Irina Rodnina lit the cauldron along with former Russian hockey goalie Vladislav Tretiak during the ceremonial lighting of the Olympic torch on Friday. Rodnina is one of the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history, having won three straight gold medals from 1972 to 1980 in pairs skating.

Rodnina is beloved in Russia, but she found herself at the center of a racial controversy back in September when she tweeted the following photo of Barack Obama and Michelle Obama that was captured by The New Republic’s Julia Ioffe:

Irina-Radnina-racist-picture-Obamas

Rodnina deleted the photo, but she never apologized for posting it. Instead, she insisted there was nothing wrong with the photograph and that she was simply expressing herself freely. Michael McFaul, the US Ambassador to Russia, blasted Rodnina at the time for her “outrageous behavior that brings shame to her parliament and country.”

Everyone is entitled to their own personal beliefs, but you would like to think someone who is so important to their nation’s people would try not to perpetuate racism. The fact that Rodnina was given such a great honor at the Olympics shows that there are no hard feelings within her own nation.

H/T Deadspin

Germany wears rainbow colors to Opening Ceremony

Germany-rainbow-uniforms

As expected, Germany marched through the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics on Friday sporting their flamboyant rainbow colors. The country’s officials have insisted that the uniforms are not a political statement, but there are still plenty of people who like to think they are.

[Related: Vladimir Putin wants gay Olympic visitors to 'leave children alone']

Russia’s anti-gay laws have been a major topic of discussion leading up to the Sochi Olympics. Major corporations like Google have found ways to show their support for the LGBT community in recent weeks, and many Olympians have spoken out against the policies as well. Has Germany done the same with it’s rainbow colors? I guess we’ll never know.

Germany-rainbow-uniforms-1

Skier Heidi Kloser asks parents if she’s still an Olympian after tearing ACL

Heidi-Kloser-mogulsAmerican mogul skier Heidi Kloser suffered a heartbreaking injury on Thursday during an Olympic practice run. The 21-year-old was warming up for the first qualification run of her Olympic career when she suffered a torn ACL. Knee injuries are common for mogul skiers, but that doesn’t make them any less devastating.

As if the story of a girl who spends years training only to have a serious injury knock her out of competition on the eve of the Sochi Games isn’t depressing enough, Kloser’s father Mike shared some details on Facebook. He said Heidi is “doing ok” but that the injury is tough for the entire family to swallow.

“When she was in the ambulance, she asked Emily (Heidi’s mother) and me if she was still an Olympian,” Mike wrote. “We said of course she is!”

Unfortunately, Kloser has a long road of rehab ahead if she wants to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics. She still attended the opening ceremony on Friday with her teammates from the US.

We wish Heidi the best in her recovery.

Snowboarder Alexey Sobolev puts phone number on helmet, gets photos from females

Alexy-Sobolev

Russian snowboarder Alexey Sobolev is quickly emerging as one of the more polarizing athletes at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. During the slopestyle qualifying round on Thursday, Sobolev decided to write his cell phone number on the back of his helmet. He had received more than 2,000 text messages by Friday morning. The 22-year-old said that most of the texts came from female fans and some of them were picture messages.

“I’ve got a collection of pictures,” Sobolev said, via USA Today’s Lindsay Jones. “It’s really boring in the Olympic Village, you know?”

The Olympic Village is boring? That’s the exact opposite of what we have heard. Anyway, Sobolev saved his favorite texts (I wonder which those could be) and said he will try to find time later in the week to respond to some of them. He also wouldn’t rule out the possibility of finding a girlfriend this way.

“Maybe!” Sobolev said. “Just having fun.”

Snowboarders will be prohibited from having any writing on their helmets on Saturday, so the texts should stop piling up.

In addition to the phone number stunt, Sobolev has also received some attention this week for the design on his board. One of the drawings features a blonde woman who is wearing a mask and holding a knife. The artwork is supposedly a tribute to the band Pussy Riot, whose members recently served jail time for speaking out publicly against Russian president Vladimir Putin.

“I’m not the designer of this board,” Sobolev said. “So, I don’t know. Just no comment.”

Putin must really hate this dude.

Photo via Instagram/Lindsay Jones

Google shows LGBT support for Sochi Olympics

Google-LGBT-Olympics-doodle

Google is the latest corporation to take a stand against Russia’s anti-gay laws, and it may also be the largest and most influential. Beginning on Thursday evening, Google’s latest homepage “doodle” features a rainbow flag (the symbol of the LGBT movement) and several sports images. Below the graphic is the following quote.

“The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.” – Olympic Charter

While a Google representative told FOX Sports that he or she had no comment and would rather let the doodle speak for itself, it seems obvious that the corporation is showing support for the LGBT community at the Winter Olympics. The opening ceremony for the Games takes place on Friday.

Back in July, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a legislation that outlaws “homosexual propaganda” and gay rights rallies. He has since insisted that Russia will not discriminate against people based on sexual preference or personal belief during the Olympics, though one particular comment he made about the situation infuriated millions.

Several world-wide corporations like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, AT&T and Visa have all expressed their support for equal rights in advance of the Olympics. Google’s doodle will likely have the widest reach and be seen by the most people.

Russian official indicates Sochi hotel showers are under video surveillance

Sochi-toiletsThere has not been a lot of news coming out of the Sochi Olympics this week that paints Russia in a positive light. Most of the images and videos we have seen show an Olympic site that is dirty and unfinished. Dmitry Kozak, one of the officials who helped organize the Sochi Games, fired back at the critics on Thursday.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Kozak said Russian officials believe visitors from Western nations have been deliberately trying to sabotage their accommodations to make Russia look bad. How does he know this? The surveillance cameras in the bathrooms and showers, of course.

“We have surveillance video from the hotels that shows people turn on the shower, direct the nozzle at the wall, and then leave the room for the whole day,” Kozak claimed. “We’ve put 100,000 guests in rooms and only gotten 103 registered complaints and every one of those is being taken care of.”

Probably not the strongest argument Kozak could have made. If Olympic officials are spying on guests while they take a shower, brown water pouring out of faucets would be the least of everyone’s worries.

Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin, said the media has been sensationalizing minor issues that are present at every Olympics.

“In fairness, I would ask everyone to recall the reports from international and our domestic media about various Olympics,” Peskov said. “Everywhere someone doesn’t like the food, someone doesn’t like the hotel, someone thinks the mattress is too hard, etc. That is, such complaints accompany all Olympics. But the guest is always right and the organizer is obliged to listen to these complaints.”

When guests are being asked to throw toilet paper in a waste basket rather than flushing it down the toilet, they have a right to complain. If they’re being videotaped while showering, they may have the right to an attorney.

H/T Fourth-Place Medal
Photo via Twitter/Steve Rosenberg