Behind the scenes for athletes at Opening Ceremony (video)

Vancouver Opening Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony is the highlight of the Olympics for many, many athletes.

The event, which can last a few hours, is even longer for Olympians than many viewers realize. The above video shows U.S. Olympians en route to the 2010 Opening Ceremony in Vancouver, where they had to wait out of sight until the U.S. was called in for the Parade of Nations, which is done alphabetically by country name.

“You spend so much time working on yourself,” aerials skier Emily Cook said. “That’s your opportunity to share it with the world, to share it with your friends and family and everyone who supported you along the way.”

The 2014 Sochi Olympic Opening Ceremony will be Friday, Feb. 7 at 8 p.m. (11 a.m. ET) at Fisht Stadium, which will also host medal ceremonies and the Closing Ceremony but not actual competitions. This is much like 2010, when Vancouver used BC Place for the same functions.

Olympic Winter Games used to have primarily outdoor Opening Ceremonies, like the Summer Games. But the movement toward larger cities hosting the Winter Games coincided with sports being added, more countries participating, more athletes overall, bigger crowds and larger arenas fit for these occasions.

Some details about the Sochi Opening Ceremony have already been reported.

More than 2,000 performers are expected to take part, including circus and dance students, It will take viewers through Russian history in culture, nature and science, according to a Russian report.

The diversity and size of Russia will be represented by a variety of famous historical figures, such as Tsar Peter the Great, and natural landmarks, including Mount Elbrus in the North Caucasus, the White Sea in the Arctic, the Ural Mountains and Lake Baikal. Iconic Russian avant-garde architecture and art will also play a role.

It remains to be seen what special surprises the Sochi Opening Ceremony could have in store. The big question going in is always who will light the Olympic Cauldron, but the athletes’ lasting memories are about everything that happens leading up to that climactic moment.

“It’s a privilege and it’s an honor to be part of something bigger than ourselves, be part of a team,” snowboarder Kelly Clark said.

Video: NBC Olympics 100 days out spots

Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

Derrick Mein

Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

Mo Farah

British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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