SOCHI SCENE: 'Russian fans have big hearts'

Russia's shock ouster from the Olympic men's hockey competition hasn't sent the host nation's hockey-mad fans stampeding for Sochi's exits.

Games chief Dmitry Chernyshenko told The Associated Press on Thursday that, despite the disappointment, there was no "massive rush" for ticket refunds by Russian spectators.

"This means Russian fans have big hearts, and will continue to have fun and support the teams (still) here," Chernyshenko said.

Chernyshenko, a former hockey player who saw his dreams of Russian gold dashed by the team's 3-1 quarterfinal loss to Finland, said the match was "upsetting." But, as he tweeted shortly after Wednesday's game: "The show must go on."

Some Russian fans share his sentiment. Minutes after Chernyshenko spoke outside the Bolshoy Hockey Arena, Russians mobbed the US men's hockey team as they made a surprise appearance for a group photograph in Olympic Park.

Chernyshenko spoke as he walked the grounds of Olympic Park, visiting venues and reflecting on the years of preparation that went into the games. While he wouldn't pronounce the Sochi Olympics a success until they ended, he said he was already "modestly proud" at the accomplishments of his organizing committee.

— By Mark Davies —


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: