Everything you always wanted to know about Sochi (but were afraid to ask)

Feschuk answers questions like: 'What else is the bottom guy in an Olympic two-man luge team thinking?'

Photo illustration by Sarah MacKinnon

Photo illustration by Sarah MacKinnon

How intrusive will security be?

You’re asking the right guy. It just so happens that I attended the Vancouver Olympics. (To be clear: I went as a journalist, not as an athlete, even though, for years, women have told me I have “the body of a curler.”)

I can tell you the Games impose a breathtaking array of rules and restrictions, especially if you’re trying to get somewhere other than the place you currently are (this situation arises surprisingly often). Here’s just one example: Take Bus A to Shuttle B, through Checkpoint C to Secondary Shuttle D, exchange your accreditation for a pass designated Level E-323/96, then submit to a prolonged search of your body, backpack, dental records, DVD collection and deepest fears. Congratulations, you’ve now got permission to pee! (Wait, you need to go No. 2? You should have taken Bus G to Checkpoint H!!)

Given the scope of the domestic threat, security in Sochi is likely to be even more prevalent and vigorous, with Vladimir Putin’s forces on the lookout in equal measure for two clear and present threats: suicide bombers and men who enjoy kissing other men.

Recently, the Russian ambassador to the U.S. tried to quell security concerns by saying Sochi is “as safe as the rest of Russia.” This is, I think we’d all agree, some pretty terrible quelling. It’s like Rob Ford declaring: “Not to worry—my drug use is every bit as under control as my drinking.”

What’s the best way to show I’m supporting Team Canada?

Throw on a T-shirt with a Maple Leaf. Top that with a Canada hoodie, a patriotic toque and those red mittens that are crammed somewhere in your closet. Now douse yourself in doughnut glaze and roll around in a vat of shredded coconut. You’re not a true fan until you’re a human Timbit.

What’s the bottom guy in a two-man luge team thinking?

Here we go! Paddle hard! Now get into position—lean back, settle in. Perfect. And now, here comes Steve on top. Heading for turn one!


I wonder if this looks weird on TV.

Me fully reclined here on this tiny hunk of fibreglass. My partner directly on top of me. My feet tucked behind the back of his knees. My hands strategically resting under his firm, familiar buttocks. Do people wonder if my partner and I are—

You know what? I should probably stop calling him my “partner.” God, I’ve been introducing him that way for years. No wonder Denise didn’t return my texts.

Focus! My partner—I mean, my teammate—my teammate and I are world-class athletes who just happen to compete in a sport that demands we be piled one atop the other, like human cordwood—our firm, athletic bodies separated by only the thinnest of space-age materials, the well-defined contours of my partner’s muscular back pressing hard against my nether region, the gravitational force of the turns effectively transforming our two bodies into a single entity in an act of athletic intimacy rarely experienced by—

Hmm. In such a situation, I wonder: Would arousal be considered completely natural or a potential deal-breaker? It’s weird this has never come up. As the guy on the bottom, do I get a mulligan? Or is it one and done?

[Considers tapping Steve on shoulder.]

Come on—FOCUS! We’re rocketing down a perilous, icy slope at speeds approaching 140 km/h. I need to devote every fragment of mental and physical energy to the task at hand.


But it wouldn’t be the weirdest thing, would it? Heterosexual men have been known to become aroused under extreme circumstances.Oh, no. I can feel?.?.?.?stirring. Think of baseball. Think of snakes. Think of snakes playing baseball. God, why did I choose this Barry White playlist for the music in my helmet?

What if the weather won’t co-operate?

Not to worry; the Russians spent $50 billion on this thing so, obviously, there are contingencies in place. For instance, if it’s too warm and all the snow melts, the ladies’ freestyle moguls will be replaced by ladies’ freestyle Boggle.

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