In Week One of the Olympics, NBC 5 reporter Rob Elgas asked his Facebook fans for their questions about Sochi and covering the Winter Games. Read what he had to say about the weather, security, athletes' morale and his viral Twitter photo.
Question: Are the accommodations really as bad as everyone is saying they are?
Answer: Our hotel is really nice. We're in the coastal cluster and a lot of the problems seemed to be up in the mountains.
Q: What is the food like there? Do you like it?
A: The food has been good. ... We have a cafeteria here that's open 24 hours. The local food has been good too. Chicken kabobs, borscht and the ice cream is great!
Q: The torch is awesome!! How tall is it?
A: The torch is awesome! ... [NBC 5 photographer Rich Wineinger] is sitting here with me, and we estimate it's about 150-200 feet up there.
Q: What is your favorite sport to watch there at the Olympics?
A: I went to the ski jump on Sunday. It was INCREDIBLE!!!
Q: What [is the] most memorable moment for you so far?
A: Most memorable was going up to mountains with my co-workers.
Q: How would you describe the mood of the U.S. athletes? Are they in good spirits? Finding the U.S. housing adequate?
A: They are in really good spirits. I heard a Russian reporter ask a speed skater today about Sochi, and he said it's been great. All the things about the Russians being stern I was told about don't seem true. They have all [been] extremely friendly.
Q: Is there anything specific that surprised you or something you did not expect prior to arriving in Sochi?
A: I would say the people. They have been very nice. And the weather. Wow! I didn't even wear a jacket most of today. But rain is coming tonight.
Q: Is it true what people keep posting about the stray dogs? That they are being rounded up and killed?
A: That's a tough one. Yes, I think the strays have been rounded up. We've seen that. And there are fewer around than when we first arrived. A lot fewer. But i don't know where they are going. The Russians have insisted the healthy dogs would not be put down.
Q: The other day you posted a picture of what appeared to be a toilet in the ground. How has that experience been for you? It looks dreadful. I know you have seen the pictures, but have you had to buddy up and use toilets that are side by side?
A: That pic went viral on my Twitter page. I think it has been retweeted 1,000 times. Let me explain where it came from: We visited a local restaurant and that was the bathroom. I saw them all the time in Italy during the 2006 Games. That's not the norm in the spots I've seen here. I have not had to buddy up, phew!
Q: Any chance of interviewing Gracie Gold or Jaime Anderson?
A: I hope so! I interviewed Jason Brown who helped win the team bronze this morning. He was total energy! Can't wait to see him skate in the individual.
Q: What are typical meals?
A: Lots of meats and potatoes, sausages, fish. ... I've eaten a lot of pizza in the commissary too.
Q: Is this your first time in Russia? What is one thing you will miss when you come home?
A: It is my first time. ... The mountains. They are just breath taking. Growing up in the Midwest you just don't see them.
Q: What sport have you enjoyed the most so far?
A: I was at speed skating today. ... They are fast! But ski jump was something I'd always wanted to see. They are so high up, and it's so steep. I will post some pictures.
Q: Is there a functioning pool/hot tub in your hotel at least?
A: There are a few pools, but it's a bit chilly. Although another crew said they heard some late night foreign press taking a dip. I saw a swimmer in the Black Sea this weekend. Speedo and all. No pic, though.
Q: Are there any strange press rules?
A: Lots ... Very strict guidelines on when we can air interviews. We are 10 hours ahead, so much of what you'll see from me tonight I've already recorded. It's taken some getting used to, understanding I'm live here tomorrow morning (8:30 a.m. Sochi time) for you over there tonight (10:30 p.m. after primetime). I will go to bed and sleep for the night while you continue along with your day.
Q: I was wondering about security there. Is it all Russian security there, or does the Olympic committee have their own security within the Olympic village?
A: We don't really have access to the Olympic Village, but if it's like where we are the security is really, really tight. I walk through metal detectors at least twice a day to get to the work space, the Olympic Park (where the events are). It's military, police and some dudes up in the mountains with some serious fire power. It's by far the most security I've encountered.