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Purdy: Not many Americans at these Russian Olympics
Olympics » Yanks scared off by terror threats, cost of getting to Sochi — and that’s too bad

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"I think so, a little bit," Allison said. "She’d been to Vancouver and didn’t think we’d be able to move as freely around as we did there."

But so far, according to Frank, they’ve been having a good time and haven’t felt intimidated. Their hotel is not plush, but acceptable. The security is tight, but does hinder movement. The Navarros are dealing with it fine.

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"I think the media overplayed some of the bad stuff," he said. "The most enlightening thing to me has been interacting with the Russian people. They couldn’t be happier to have us here. What you find out is, they’re much more like us than some people would lead you to believe. It’s nice we don’t have guns with bullets pointed at each others’ heads any longer."

Frank especially felt that vibe last Saturday. He attended the USA-Russia men’s hockey game. There was good-natured bantering between USA fans and Russian fans, nothing profane or stupid, even after the USA victory.

"It could have been an NHL crowd," said Frank. "I was really impressed with the atmosphere."

Like me, however, the Navarros feel a bit lonely.

"I would estimate," Frank said, "that in a public place here, there’s maybe a 1 percent or 2 percent chance you run into other Americans."

And right about then, our percentage was up. The Navarros had to make a women’s hockey game. They walked onward, toward the flame.

As they did, I felt mixed emotions. I blame no American for staying home from these Games. Those terrorism threats were and are real. We’ve made it through 11 days with no incidents. But six days still remain. Also, I would have been miffed to pay for a hotel room with no door handles or working light bulbs.

At the same time, having more Americans in Sochi to mix with Russian people — getting to know each other as human beings — would have made these Games even better. It stinks that events conspired against that possibility. So those of us Americans here will just have to send postcards home.

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Having a great baked potato. Wish you were here.

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