Forget the parkas and hats. Sunscreen and shades are the must-have items at the Winter Games.
The temperature in Sochi, Russia, soared to 63 degrees on Wednesday, prompting Olympic visitors to grab a nap on a bench outside a venue or hit the nearby beach for some sunbathing and even a dip in the Black Sea.
“I think it should always be like this,” said Yuri Valyeyev, a resident of Bryansk, between Sochi and Moscow, who came to work in construction. “We are glad that it is held in Russia. Being a Russian I am very glad because everywhere in Russia is cold and here is warm.”
Organizers say they expected Sochi to be warm. Sure, it’s making life difficult for the skiers and snowboarders slushing through their runs on the mountain. But for thousands of fans and workers in this resort town, the warmth has been a welcome getaway for Russians, Canadians, Americans and other visitors who have endured harsh winters back home.
Just a few hundred yards from Olympic Park, visitors lounged on the rocky shores of the Black Sea. Fishermen cast their lines into the water and Valyeyev jumped in.
“The water, you can bear it,” he said with a shrug.
Temperatures are expected to be in the 50s Sunday and in the coming days. But it’s still not much of a winter by Olympic standards.