Dennis and Dionne Newton

Dennis and Dionne Newton
Dennis & Dionne Newton

Friday, August 26, 2016

My MTC Olympics

Dionne and I entered the MTC the day the Olympics began. To our shock and dismay, our accomodations did not have a television and certainly did not have all of the NBC channels which were broadcasting live. Fortunately, the room did have wifi so we were able to stream some events via my laptop and our phones.

The first weekend Briel and Mitch were in town so we decided to stay the weekend in Park City with them. I have always wanted to ride the bobsled at Olympic Park so that is what Briel, Mitch, and I did. The G's are pretty strong (4-5) and so the ride takes little bit of a toll on your body.

Briel had to "talk up" Mitch a little to convince him to ride. But we all survived unscathed. On the return trip up the mountain, our driver mentioned that the sleds do flip occasionally which might of freaked us out if we would have known that on top.

Everyone knows our new town, Sarajevo, for hosting the 1984 Winter Olympic games. I remember fondly watching that Olympics and wondering where this little hamlet was. Never did I imagine I would live here for a time. I had heard stories about how run-down the Olympic venues at Sarajevo are. So Dionne and I decided to drive up to the most discussed, the bobsled track.

 On the way up the mountain we came across a group of stray puppies who live out in the woods. They came up to us begging for food. We did not have anything to feed them. They would not come up to let us pet them but they were clearly hungry.

We came across a male who we guess was their father? He was friendly and did come up to us to be pet.  He was sitting in an old abandoned house that had been bombed in the war.

Later that day we bought some dog food which we will keep in our car. I know we are trying to teach self-sufficiency and self-reliance to the people of Bosnia. But nobody told us we should not give a puppy free handouts.

This building overlooks Sarajevo. It was completely destroyed by the war and still stands (like so many others) as a eerie reminder of the devastation of war.

We were surprised that when we got to the bobsled run that we had it all to ourselves. There is no limit to access. I climbed on the track and walked around. I may return one morning and run it. There has been news lately that people BMX down the run.

Much of the track is decorated in graffiti which gives it a cool look. Some of the art is quite well done and colorful. I think the graffiti actually adds to and certainly does not take away from the overall effect of walking along the bobsled run.

This is the final turn. Note how much nature has recovered and grown around the infrastructure that was put in for the Olympics. The broadcast booth at the start, for example, was riddled with bullet holes and overgrown with vegetation.

This is the finish line. Not sure if this is original but it is interesting that Sarajevo is highlighted along with Bosna but no mention of Yugoslavia.

I was expecting to be a little saddened when I visited the bobsled track. Instead I really enjoyed sights, the access, and the memories. Both Dionne and I were captivated by the thrill of discovering this little piece of history without signs, tour guides, or guard rails. (I did almost fall on my noggin as I tried to run along one of the turns!)

Up near the bobsled track they are constructing a state-of-the-art alpine slide. The kind that are blurring the lines between roller coaster and "mountain coaster." This should open relatively soon so Dionne and I look forward to riding it as well.

While in Olympic Park, we also rode the alpine slide. This was one of the older versions in which it is possible (when you are older and heavier) to come out of. I had done this before in Pennsylvania so I was a little wary riding this slide. And, of course, I got going too fast, lost balance, and flipped my sled. I was able to flip it back over but not before I scrapped up my arm. Fortunately, this will not be possible on the new Sarajevo sled.

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