Moscow, Russia

Moscow, Russia

The chance to stop, second only in importance to the fact that I have made it here. Up at 5.40, plenty of time to go through the (very quick) Moscow airport style security, train at 6.45, hostel by metro by 12 and time to sit for half an hour before going to meet dad.

Statues on the Moscow Metro
Park Kultury Station.

His directions were characteristically excellent so I came out of Dinamo metro – next to the football club – and was there just after two, just making my way to the IAAF greeting stand when dad called me over. He was just downstairs on the off chance I was there (I’d said around 2.00, so it wasn’t pure chance) and there I was. Got myself accredited, met dad’s colleagues and after some breeze shooting we headed over to the Olympic stadium. My second in a week, though being more modern it is rather grander*. It also has a roof, added in 1997, which was therefore not there for the Olympics in 1980, and keeps much of the stadium in shade, which is a blessing. Still hot, though, and they are running the marathons in the afternoon. It’ll be boiling.

For me, though, all excellent. I have a pass that lets me in and I can see the whole of the World Championships. Tickets aren’t too expensive, so I’d expect some of those who complained that ‘real’ fans missed out on the Olympics to be here. It adds up, but still, at a guesstimate – c. £150 for a flight, £120 for a visa, £350 for a hotel and £200-800 for a ticket, you could see the whole lot for around £800 if you stayed in a hostel and ate fairly cheaply, £2-3k would be luxurious and some people spent that on London tickets without seeing the whole Olympic programme.

Bright colours of empty seats in the stadium
Moscow’s Olympic stadium.

I spent my day following, ending up in various broadcast meetings and then at dinner with Rob Steve, Carolyn, Ron, Jonathan and Katherine. I’ll fill in some surnames later, but it was a decent meal in good company, especially watching the enthusiastic Rob chase after the waiter once the others had convinced him that his handing over 1000 roubles and asking with fingers splayed for 10×100 had actually convinced the waiter to ‘keep it’.

Outside view of the stadium
Outside view of the stadium.

I was back by 10 and slept and slept. Interrupted by my roommates of course-it was Friday night – but I had plenty of time to sleep so no problem. Tomorrow, morning session, women’s marathon in the afternoon and then Mo to make me cry, I hope, in the “10 grand” as Rob puts it.

Summary: I caught the 6.45 from St Petersburg, arrived 10.30 or so, ticket from Real Russia. The excellent yandex apps are really useful, especially yandex.metro for the underground and yandex.maps in case google doesn’t show the detail, street names in Russian and the like. Google is better if you have no Internet connection, though.

Massive building, one of the 'Seven Sisters'. Imposing, with what look from a distance like crenellations atop towers
What the…

* actually, it was originally built in the 50s, so its different scale is down to space and Russian ambition rather than modernity.

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