THE OPENING DAYS OF THE SOCHI GAMES WERE FILLED WITH OVERBLOWN TALES OF ORGANIZATIONAL GLITCHES. (ENOUGH ALREADY WITH THE HOTEL COMPLAINTS.) BUT THERE WAS AN EASY WAY TO CELEBRATE OLYMPIAN ACHIEVEMENTS AND REVEL IN RUSSIA'S WINTER SPIRIT: HEAD FOR THE HILLS
DEFENSIVE END MICHAEL SAM WANTED THE TEAM THAT DRAFTS HIM TO HAVE NO DOUBTS ABOUT HIS SEXUALITY. NOW HE IS POISED TO BECOME THE LEAGUE'S FIRST OPENLY GAY PLAYER. HIS MISSOURI TEAMMATES ACCEPTED HIM. WILL THE PROS?
PHOTOPHOTOGRAPH BY BOB MARTIN FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
Welcome To the Doll's House How can a course designer strike fear in the hearts of some of the Winter Games' most fearless athletes? A terrifyingly large nesting doll is a good place to start. A snowboarding-themed version of the classic Russian tchotchke sits below one of the rail jumps on the slopestyle run at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, which also intimidated riders with its speed and its jumps. One competitor who wasn't the least bit frightened: Sage Kotsenburg of the U.S., who won the men's gold (page 22).
PHOTOPHOTOGRAPH BY BRETT HANSBAUER FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
Sweater Bests Yes, the hand-knit wool cardigans that the 230 members of Team USA wore as they trooped into Fisht Stadium for the opening ceremony of the Sochi Games were a tad garish. (They "are like wearing Times Square on your body," one fashion blogger sneered.) But the designer is cringing all the way to the bank: Ralph Lauren sold out of the sweaters, which retailed for $595, by last weekend. There were a few available on eBay—though they set buyers back as much as $3,000.
PHOTOPHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID E. KLUTHO SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
Opening Statement Jocelyne Lamoureux (17) and the rest of her U.S. teammates didn't get to sport those loud Ralph Lauren sweaters in public: The women's hockey team skipped last Friday's opening ceremony to rest up for their first game, against Finland, the next morning (left). The move paid off with a 3--1 win, and Team USA—which is expected to meet Canada in the gold medal game—followed with a 9--0 rout of Switzerland on Monday.