Gearing up for Sochi

The scrambling is done, the big preparations are made, and it’s getting near time to pack bags. Chris Knight, our senior staff writer, started his Olympic blog yesterday. He also got a welcoming email Monday from the Russian hotel he and Lou Reuter will stay at while they cover the Olympics. Lou, our senior sports writer, heard last week from Nikon Professional Services that his membership request was finally accepted, letting him borrow all kinds of cool camera gear at the Olympic press centers. And we’ve been poring over the Olympic schedule, making day-to-day coverage plans.

We’re in kind of a sweet spot of anticipation for Sochi.

Our number-one attention focus is the local Adirondack athletes we’ll cover at the Winter Olympics in and around Sochi. And now the slate is mostly set.

Seven of those who were born here, raised here and/or live here as their primary residence have clinched Olympic berths: biathletes Lowell Bailey, Tim Burke and Annelies Cook; luger Chris Mazdzer; New Jersey-raised bobsled pilot Jamie Greubel; nordic combined skier Billy Demong and ski jumper Peter Frenette.

There’s also alpine skier Andrew Weibrecht, a Lake Placid native who won a bronze medal at the 2010 Olympics but has often been plagued by injuries. Whether he’ll make the Olympic team this time around is still undetermined; we’ll find out Sunday. We’re rooting hard for him.

Lake Placid and the surrounding area is truly the nation’s Winter Olympic heartland. It has sent at least one local athlete to every Winter Olympics. It was a Lake Placid speedskater, Charles Jewtraw, who won the first gold medal awarded in the first event of the first Winter Olympics, in 1924 in Chamonix, France. At the last Winter Games, in 2010, the area sent 12 Olympians, plus many more with ties to Lake Placid.

Also on our radar are five Olympians who went to school in Lake Placid, mostly at National Sports Academy. Congratulations to NSA, which produced many athletes who are a source of national and regional pride – including locals Billy Demong and Chris Mazdzer.

Chris Knight will devote all his attention to the Adirondack Olympians of 2014. Lou will cover the locals as well as 15 Olympians from the rest of New York state. In this, he is working for the newspapers of the New York Press Association.

Chris’ trip is being funded by the Charles Decker Scholarship, which he wrote about in Saturday’s Enterprise. If you missed it, go back and check it out.

We are very grateful to both of these wonderful sponsors. We’re raring to go and make them proud.

As we have in other Winter Olympics, we’ll publish a separate Daily Olympic Digest section in every issue of this newspaper during the games. It’ll be loaded with Lou and Chris’ stories and photos of local relevance, plus the best of the Games by the Associated Press, all laid out big and bold and colorful – a wonderful thing to read and to save as a historical keepsake.

Our website, Facebook and Twitter pages will be the first places to check for Olympic news, both local and international. Already the website’s Winter Olympics category contains all kinds of local coverage plus a wealth of up-to-the-minute news, features, photos, graphics and other material from the AP.

Make sure to stick with us throughout the games, online and/or in print; we’ll be your best source.