Hundreds of locals turned out for NBC 7’s Olympic Opening Ceremony viewing party on the USS Midway Friday night, sharing their thoughts on the Sochi Games – and trying their hand at a few winter sports.
“It’s really inspiring to see all these people out here,” said Alex Grassi, a member of the national USA Field Hockey team since 2012. “To watch the Opening Ceremony – it gets me really excited to try to be in the next Olympics myself.”
The viewing party boasted lots of sporty activities, including ice skating and curling.
San Diego resident Isabelle Diliberti and her friends (pictured above), who play on a local hockey team, gave curling a whirl and enjoyed the sport.
Still, Diliberti told NBC 7 that hockey is her very favorite winter Olympics sport, following by snowboarding, then curling.
“I play hockey. It’s a nice and quick sport, and it’s interesting,” she said. “I’ve always liked skating too.”
Diliberti said celebrating the 2014 Sochi Games on the USS Midway gave her a glimpse into what it might be like to be an Olympic athlete herself, something she could possibly accomplish someday.
“If I keep on practicing, I think I will one day make it to the Olympics. It’s going to be a huge commitment – so, maybe!” she told NBC 7.
Meanwhile, Kelley Hartmann said the excitement and Team USA spirit was palpable on the USS Midway Friday night, and she was happy to be a part of the event.
“I’m here for the team spirit, for the United States – to root with everybody. The atmosphere on the USS Midway, well, you can’t get any more American than that,” she said.
Hartmann said the sport she’s most looking forward to following during the Sochi Games is figure skating.
“I used to figure skate back in the day, so it’s my favorite sport. Go USA!” said Hartmann.
Though field hockey is his passion, Grassi admitted he too enjoys watching figure skating during the winter Olympics, mostly because he likes watching sports he knows very little about.
“I like to watch curling or figure skating. I like to watch people master something where I would have no idea what to do,” he explained.
Finally, local Gloria Bautista said her top sports to watch during the Sochi Games will definitely be figure skating and snowboarding, mainly because of the famous local connection to the latter.
“I love the ice skating and the snowboarding,” she said. “You have to go for the hometown boy, Shaun White.”
In true Sochi spirit, manmade snow covered the USS Midway flight deck for all to play. When the Opening Ceremony began, attendees watched all of the action on huge television screens. Special giveaways and special guests, including the NBC 7 11 p.m. news team, rounded out the golden gathering.