Noureen DeWulf Olympic Blog: After Sochi Tears and Cheers, Back to Work in Hollywood
02/25/2014 AT 06:15 PM EST
What a fantastic experience these Olympics have been. Congratulations to all the athletes. It is such an amazing accomplishment to get to be in Sochi, and represent your country.
Russia is a really beautiful country. The day before I left Sochi, I took a two-hour train to the mountains, an area called Krasnaya Polyana where they were holding the ski and alpine events. It was gorgeous. There were restaurants with patios that had spectacular mountain views and cute little stores to shop in.
The men's hockey team played that night against Finland for the bronze medal and lost. We were a strong team, every single player was hard working and amazing. I know they were all very proud to represent our country so it was extremely disappointing not to medal in the tournament.
Our team flight was not scheduled to leave until the next night following the closing ceremonies, so we had a full day to burn. A group of us went to the Black Sea and a few guys jumped into the freezing water.
Afterwards, we went to lunch at a restaurant called La Luna where we cheered the US bobsled team on TV and there were some Russians eating who were cheering for their team. It was a nice experience to interact with the local people in an authentic setting.
One of the parts of Sochi that has really affected me during my stay is the presence of the many stray dogs in the city. I'm not sure what was going on, but the first night when we arrived in Sochi, we heard a bone chilling cry of hundreds of dogs throughout the night.
Since that time, I have had many run-ins with the puppies and dogs of Sochi. They were really sweet and broke my heart. One dog in particular was so gentle, she stationed herself in front of Olympic Park for three days and nights straight.
Every time our bus would pull up in the morning, she was there, and she would still be there when we were leaving at night. Some of the wives and I tried to feed her but she wouldn't eat. It was one of the saddest things I've seen, it seemed like she just wanted to be around people.
I realized that one of the greatest things about being an American is that we resources available that allow us the privilege to care for other people and animals. The Backes family was able to take home two dogs with them, adorable little guys they named Sochi Jack and Sochi Junior.
The dogs will go under the care of their family foundation, "Athletes for Animals" in St. Louis. After a period of quarantine, Sochi Jr. and Sochi Jack will be available for adoption.
Now I'm back in LA ready to get to work on new episodes of Anger Management. I'm so appreciative of this experience and incredibly proud of Ryan and the US men's hockey team. Thank you so much for reading my blog and following my journey!