Athletes get their own Olympic Village

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – This Winter Olympics, the world’s best biathletes and cross-country skiers have their own place to call home.

Unlike the last Olympics in Vancouver, where there were two Olympic villages to house all the games’ athletes, Sochi boasts three.

The Olympic Village in the Coastal Cluster of venues will be home to 2,000 athletes and delegates during the games. The Mountain Olympic Village, the largest of the three villages and located near the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center and Extreme Park, will accommodate nearly 3,000 people. The Endurance Village, located just below the Laura Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Center, will be home to more than 1,000 people.

Lake Placid’s Lowell Bailey, who’s competing in his third Olympics, said he likes the idea of biathletes and cross-country skiers having their own village.

“There was a big village in Whistler that was more like kind of a town atmosphere,” Bailey said Wednesday. “Here, it’s much smaller. We’re kind of isolated from the rest of the Olympics, which I don’t think is a bad thing. I think it’s actually nice to be a little more low key. It allows us to focus more on the racing.”

Bailey’s roommate in the Endurance Village is his friend, training partner and long-time competitor, Tim Burke of Paul Smiths.

“It’s nice to have our own village because it feels more like a normal World Cup race for us,” Burke said. “The Olympic village up here is much different than what I experienced in Torino or Vancouver. It has a very small feel, which this time around feels very comfortable.”

Annelies Cook of Saranac Lake, who’s in her first Olympics here in Sochi, is rooming with her teammate Sara Studebaker of Boise, Idaho.

“We room together a lot,” Cook said. “We have similar styles. We go to bed at the same. She doesn’t snore, which I really like.

“I think we’re really lucky in the Endurnace Village because everything is set, the rooms are nice. We’ve been hearing some stories (about hotels that are incomplete), but we have only had positive experiences so far.”