And The Sochi Crowd Goes Mild
Russia built a 'fans house' the size of a warehouse near the entrance to Olympic Park to get the home crowd for Team Russia fired up. Just not too fired up.
'We don't want people to be too active and bother the athletes or the fans from other countries,' said Yevgeny Tkachev, spokesman for the fan house, where visitors can meet former Olympians and test their own fitness. 'We're not trying to turn people into sports fanatics.'
The hundreds of thousands of Russians with tickets to the Winter Games have so far been more stoic than stoked, more Bolshoi than Boston Garden.
Tkachev wants fans warmed up but not noisy. Horns? That would be a nyet. 'We don't give out anything that makes noise,' he said.
In Sochi, there is little to rival the earthshaking 'U-S-A' chants of big American crowds, or the deafening vuvuzela horns that blared at the South African soccer World Cup in 2010. Even the British overcame their stiff-upper-lip DNA with effusive, often emotional outpourings at the 2012 London Olympics.
The Russian crowd occasionally chants 'Ros-see-ya,' Russian for Russia, but rarely for more than a few beats.
At some venues, they are drowned out by smaller groups of fans from rowdier countries, including the Dutch. The biggest ruckus supported by the Russian fan house is the quiet thumping of the inflatable red, white and blue sticks it gives away.
Russians tend to be more restrained because 'it's seen as indecent to highlight joy about your own victory if it's been won at someone else's expense,' said Vladimir Aseyev, a psychologist at the Russian Academy of Sciences. 'That's the way people have always been brought up.'
In Russian culture, open displays of emotion are strictly regulated.
'Emotions definitely run high, but we do not jump up and down like the Japanese or the Chinese,' said Alexei Musharin, academic director at the Moscow Institute of Physical Culture and Sport. 'Our pride for our athletes does not depend on how we show it. If a Russian is sober, then he can be quite reserved in how he expresses emotions.'
And sober is the word at the Sochi Olympics, where most beer is nonalcoholic and stronger stuff is harder to find than tickets to the hockey final.
Hometown fans are expected to be on their best behavior.
Vladimir Pozner, a popular TV journalist, complained to a Russian radio station this week about fans hitting the exits before visiting athletes finished their events: 'Not everyone leaves, but the stadium empties out noticeably. That's disrespectful to the others.'
Locals attribute the relative reserve to the fear of making a bad impression before a global audience. 'One should behave in a dignified way,' said Sochi resident Larisa Merkulova. 'We've been waiting so long for this and we want to show ourselves in the right light.'
Merkulova arrived Monday at Olympic Park to root for Russian speedskaters. She carried a flag, and wore sparkly red, blue and white flags painted on her cheeks and a colorful antennae on her head.
'We're feeling good,' she said, but promised nonetheless to maintain her composure.
The Russian crowd has had its moments. At Monday's short-track speedskating competition, fans greeted Viktor Ahn, a favorite from the Russian team, with a roar that drowned out the bell for the start of the final lap.
In 2012, hundreds of people took to Moscow streets to celebrate Russia clinching the World Ice Hockey Championships with a victory over Slovakia. Crowds waved flags and shouted 'Russia! Russia!' while cars sounded horns through the night.
俄罗斯科学院(Russian Academy of Sciences)心理学家阿谢耶夫(Vladimir Aseyev)说，俄罗斯人往往更为克制，因为如果是在损害其他人利益的情况下取胜，高调地展示胜利的喜悦被认为是不礼貌的行为，人们从小就受到这样的教导。
莫斯科体育运动学院(Moscow Institute of Physical Culture and Sport)学术负责人穆沙林(Alexei Musharin)称，情绪无疑是高涨的，但我们不像日本人或中国人那样兴奋得跳起来。他表示，我们对本国运动员的自豪并不取决于如何展现；如果一个俄罗斯人没喝醉，他在如何表达情绪方面会相当克制。