SOCHI, Russia – The best choreography on display at the Shayba Arena isn't coming from the cheerleaders who dance in the aisles. It's the crew that skates out during breaks in the hockey games to shovel the snow off the ice.
A hockey rink gets pretty carved up during a 20-minute period. The quick starts and stops the players make leave grooves in the ice and spray shavings around so that by the end of the period the slick surface is more like an unshoveled sidewalk than a mirror. It slows down the puck, it slows down the players, and it makes for a sloppier game.
A pair of ice-resurfacing machines emerge between periods — it's not clear if they're the Zamboni brand familiar to American hockey fans (http://goo.gl/S241TT ). But to keep things sliding smoothly during the game, a crew in blue warmups skate onto the ice. They start at either side of the net and shovel the scrapings toward each other, leaving a thin line of snow. A third man scoops it up and deposits it in a bin.
They do windows, too: Other members of the crew clean the glass in front of the photographers.
— By Jimmy Golen — Twitter http://twitter.com/jgolen
Associated Press reporters are filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: http://apne.ws/1c3WMiu