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GREAT NEWS from the Olympic Spirit Project!

By now my Kickstarter project backers should have received their Olympic Spirit Project – Sochi 2014 rewards – postcards, prints, books, eBooks. If you have not received yours and you haven’t heard from me to let you know it’s on its way, it’s most likely because I’m still waiting on your mailing address. If this is the case, please shoot me a message with your mailing address and I will send it off to you.

The Olympic Spirit Project Book – Print, ePub & PDF!

Last week I announced that the Olympic Spirit Project – Sochi 2014 eBook was ready for download, YAY!! At the time, the eBook was only available in ePub format, so today I’m happy to announce that I’ve released a PDF version for those who do not have access to an ePub reader.

 

Olympic Spirit Project Book - ePub Olympic Spirit Project Book - PDF Olympic Spirit Project Book - Print

  Buy now as ePub        Buy now as PDF        Buy now in Print

Early Reviews For The Olympic Spirit Project Book:

“For someone who really wanted to be there but couldn’t, this book is the next best thing! It’s obvious once you look at it, how much love went into producing this book. The pictures tell a great story about the spirit of the Sochi Olympic Games. Thank you Mariska for taking all those awesome pics and sharing your passion.”     ~ Reese Richards

“This book really captures the spirit of the Olympics games and the inspirational message they carry. Plus, it has beautiful photos! A perfect gift or coffee table book for any athlete or Olympics fan.”   ~ Toffler N.

“The Olympic Spirit Project is a wonderful book that gives you an inside look at what it was really like to attend the Olympics in Sochi, Russia. If you are an Olympics fan, this book is for you!” ~ Hilary Curry

A sneak peek inside The Olympic Spirit Project Book…

Epic Canadian fans at the Men’s Gold Medal Hockey Game:

If you were glued to the television watching as Canada competed in Sochi, this book is an up close and personal encounter of being on the sidelines cheering with your fellow Canadians!

 

Olympic Spirit Project - Sample Page

The Sochi 2014 Olympic Cauldron and Olympic venues:

If you were at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, this is the perfect souvenir to keep those memories and Olympic Spirit fresh!

Olympic Spirit Project Book Sample

Get your Christmas shopping done early!

This book is the perfect gift for any athlete or Olympics fan on your list!

 

  Buy now as ePub        Buy now as PDF         Buy now in Print

 

Olympic Spirit Project Book is HERE!!

A year ago today I made a life choice to leave the shackles of the corporate office world behind and to pursue my dreams a digital nomad.

The year that I’ve had has been incredible!

  • I launched a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising nearly $7500 for the Olympic Spirit Project Book
  • I traveled to Russia for 12 unforgettable days at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games
  • blogged about the whole experience – sharing the good, the bad and the photos from the Olympic Spirit Project
  • I built an online store and am selling postcards and enlarged prints and the Olympic Spirit Project Book
  • I learned all about creating and self-publishing a photo book!!!

And now I’m excited to announce that…

The 2014 Olympic Spirit Project Book is available in print and eBook format!

OSP Book Cover

Book Preview

About the Olympic Spirit Project Book

This 40-page book of photography from the ‘Olympic Spirit Project’ is created through a love of sport and the examination of human emotion. Mariska Richters creates a dramatic collection of work that captures the diverse expression of national pride and Olympic spirit from around the world.

Mariska’s work tells a powerful story through captured moments in time where lives are changed and memories of a lifetime are made. In this collection, Mariska gives us an intimate glimpse into Olympic Spirit that makes the Olympic experience so memorable.

About the Olympic Spirit Project eBook

The eBook is available through both Blurb and iBooks.  The eBook book is rich with links leading you to more detailed articles Sochi Olympic experience.

eBook Preview

About the Photographer

Mariska Richters is a freelance photographer whose collection of works can be found at mariskarichters.com and across various online social networks. Raised in the Cowichan Valley, British Columbia, Canada, Mariska’s passion for capturing the human experience through images and words was born from her experience at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. She has attended three Olympics to date, and aspires to continue the Olympic Spirit Project in future. Proceeds from the Olympic Spirit Project will be put toward continuing this project in 2016 and beyond.

Postcard: The Sochi 2014 Olympic CauldronGratitude!

I’d like to, once again, send out a HUGE thank you to my Kickstarter project backers who made the Olympic Spirit Project book – with special thanks to my corporate sponsor, Brandy’s Whistler – without all of you this book would never have been possible. You will all find your names on the contributors page of the book, as promised.

I’m flooded with gratitude for the kindness and generosity from all of my family, friends and people I’ve never even met who helped make my Olympic dream a reality! Thank You all for this unforgettable experience!

Special Thanks To…

I’d like to send a special thanks out to a few people who were especially helpful to me on the ground in Sochi – Shauna, Greg, and Jordan – You guys are SUPERHEROES!!

Shauna was at my side on almost a daily basis and was an adventurous partner in crime and the exact Olympic Spirit poster girl I was hoping for when I began this project! Thank You Shauna!

Greg helped me out with Canadian Olympic Spirit swag when my luggage didn’t arrive and he provided me with much needed cold and flu medication when the Sochi Flu knocked me down. To top that off, he was my Olympic Spirit poster boy with his epic custom made Canada suit. Thank you Greg! You’re awesome, as always!

Jordan helped me when I first landed in Russia and got me into the Canada Olympic House open house where I saw President Putin. He also helped me find the giant stack of postcards that I sent off to all my Kickstarter backers. Thank you!

I’m happy to announce that I’ll be sending the eBook out to my Kickstarter backers as promised. You should be receiving it in your inbox soon. If you did not back the project, please visit the web shop to order your very own copy, or click the button below.

Buy eBook!          Buy Printed Book!

I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

Olympic Spirit Project Postcards Are Here!

I’m so excited to announce that the Olympic Spirit Project postcards are now available in the online store! YAY!!! 

BUY NOW!

Why Are Olympic Spirit Project Postcards Awesome?

  • They are an original tangible souvenir from the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, not a commercialized or virtual product that everyone else has.
  • People LOVE getting personalized mail! All most of us get these days is bills. Send an Olympic Spirit Project postcard to let someone know you’re thinking about them while supporting this inspiring ongoing project!
  • All photos were taken by yours truly in Sochi, Russia during the 2014 Olympic Games
  • They help keep Olympic Spirit alive between Olympic Games
  • Proceeds from postcard sales will go toward continuing the Olympic Spirit Project in Rio, Brazil in 2016 and beyond!

Cards Included in the Olympic Spirit Project Postcard Pack:

The 5-pack of postcards is available for only $17.95 while they last.

If you’re interested in purchasing individual cards or multiple copies of a single card, please contact me for pricing. Quantity discounts available.

BUY POSTCARDS

What’s Next?

The Olympic Spirit Project book is very close to being completed and sent off for publishing! I can’t wait to see the images in print and to share the final book and eBook with you! Stay tuned for updates!

Oh, and if your wondering where I get the cards printed, it’s through the super awesome MOO SHOP. <— Click this link for 10% off your very own MOO order!

 

Please Share the Olympic Spirit With a Tweet!

 

 

Epic Canadian Olympic Fans

The Olympic Park was all but deserted on the final day of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games. There were only two events scheduled that day: Men’s Gold Medal Hockey and the Closing Ceremony. Only those with tickets to at least one of these events were permitted to enter the park.

With Canada playing for GOLD there was a large Canadian presence. I went in early in search of epic Canadian Olympic fans and I found my first group at the first open concession cart buying beer (because a Canadian watching hockey without beer is just wrong!).

Day10-2

Olympic Spirit Project Books and Postcards now available!

Learn More!

Free Beer Guy & Other More Fans

Next I made my way to Canada Olympic House to see who had collected there to prep for the game and this guy walked up with a tray full of beers and started handing them out to fellow Canadians. Did I mention how much I love Canadians?

(Thank you, Free Beer Guy!)

Canadian Free Beer Guy

Next, Shauna and I strolled toward the Bolshoy Arena and came across these Russian guys who unexpectedly swept me off my feet, and then we found more Canadians with flags and a crazy collection of signatures.

Russians and Canadians

Signed Canadian Flag

Signed Canadian Flag

Then there was a couple who almost didn’t make it to Sochi due to a leg injury, but they pushed through and made it, wheelchair and all! Well done guys! Talk about dedicated fans! YAY!

Canadian Fans

The Olympic Party Boy

But the hands-down BEST had to be the “Olympic Party Boy!”

I first met this OPB at the London 2012 Olympics where I got my first introduction to Olympic Party Boy awesomeness. Back in Vancouver, he had mentioned that he was having a custom Canada suit designed by Ash Turner of Mechanic Organic for the Sochi 2014, so I was excited to include it in the Olympic Spirit Project!

He showed up for the Gold Medal Game wearing tailored white pants, a white suit jacket with red arms, “Canada” embroidered on the breast pocket and a giant maple leaf sewn on the back. (You did an phenomenal job Ash Turner!) He topped that off with a red t-shirt, red and white Adidas sneakers and a maple leaf pin on the lapel.

Don’t get me wrong, everyone else looked awesome too with their jerseys, face paint, helmets and flags, but what made this so epic was the originality and the fact that this super classy suit is one of a kind. It just doesn’t get cooler than that! Complete AWESOMENESS!

(Thanks for the photoshoot OPB! Yay!)

Olympic Party Boy - Greg Olympic Party Boy - Greg Olympic Party Boy - Greg Olympic Party Boy - Greg

How did you show your Olympic Spirit during the Games?

 

Olympic Spirit Project BOOKS are now available in Print, ePub and PDF! 

BUY NOW!

Postcards From Russia, With Love!

Writing Postcards in Russia

As part of my Kickstarter rewards for the Olympic Spirit Project, I had promised to send postcards to my project backers. So on my last couple of days in Russia, after I had somewhat recovered from the flu, and the Games were over I found a nice little patio on the boardwalk along the Black Sea in Adler, ordered a Coke and sat down to deliver on my promise.

I don’t think I’ve ever sent that many postcards all at once! There were 70 cards in total! I can’t even tell you when the last time was that I hand wrote so much all at one time. It was a bit of a reality check as to how much we rely on computers for everything these days, yet refreshing to do something so very analog.

I took a few breaks to relieve the writer’s cramp, but after a couple of hours, two Cokes, and a salad for lunch, I was done! I attached the stamps and went in search of a mailbox.

Sochi 2014 Olympic Postage Stamps

A couple of weeks ago I started getting tweets and messages that the cards were arriving. (Note to self: Postcards from Russia take an entire month to get to their destination!) I asked my backers to send me fun creative photos of their postcards when they received them and here are the pics I’ve received so far. 

Thank you all again for your support on the project! It was an incredible adventure and you all helped make it possible! I will be forever grateful for your support and generosity!

With gratitude,
xo Mariska

PS. If you still have a photo to send me, please do! I will add them to this post when I receive it.

Olympic Spirit Project postcards are now available! 

BUY NOW!

 

Team Canada & Bronze Medal Hockey

When I bought my Olympics tickets in february 2013, I had bought two tickets to the Men’s Bronze Medal Game, since gold tickets were not available at the time. So now, after the game from the previous night, I was stuck with two tickets for a game that Canada would not be playing in.

I had posted my tickets to the Facebook groups as soon as the Canada – USA game ended, hoping to find some Americans to either sell my tickets to or make a trade with. I had a few responses on the Facebook page, but found that a lot of people were flakey and didn’t show up when they said they would, so I was getting a bit frustrated.

Everyone’s Looking For Tickets!

Canadians looking for Gold Medal tickets at Sochi 2014

These guys were AWESOME!

I headed to the Olympic Park and went straight to the Canada and USA houses. I talked to everyone around the two houses and pretty much everyone was hoping to do the same thing as I was. I found one guy, who turned out to be one of the people I had connected with through my Facebook post. He had a single gold ticket, and wanted two bronze for an even trade for him and his friend.

DONE!

Two bronze tickets for one gold ticket!

Bronze for Gold ticket trade at Sochi 2014

Now What?

Since the bronze event was all I had tickets for that day, I was stuck with no events for the day. I decided I wanted to go to the bronze game anyway. I walked over to the Bolshoy and ran into these guys, who were selling their tickets, but at a price that I was not willing to pay.

Canadians selling bronze tickets

Sochi 2014 Olympic Rings & Cauldron

I hung around outside the arena until the game started. (There were always people selling ticket for less than face value after events started.) I took the opportunity to take some pics of the rings and the cauldron and then I saw a group of people in matching Canada gear walking up to the rings. I thought, “Hey! This is perfect Olympic Spirit Project material!” And when I looked closer…

It was THE CANADIAN MEN’S HOCKEY TEAM!!!

Canadian Men's Olympic Hockey Team 2014

Soch i2014 Canadian Men’s Olympic Hockey Team

Canadian Men's Olympic Hockey Team 2014

Sochi 2014 Canadian Men’s Olympic Hockey Team

Whaaaaat?!?!?!!! I could NOT believe my luck! It was perfect! I nestled into the crowd and stood front and center right beside the team photographer when I took this photo! YES!! I was SO excited!

Bronze Medal Hockey

So after THAT happened, I found a Canadian couple selling a single bronze ticket for half face value. I paid less than $100 for the ticket and headed inside. You would think the day couldn’t possibly get any better and then I got to my seat. The seat I had just bought for 1/5 the price of my original tickets was BETTER than the ones I had traded with the American guy!  He was sitting about 8 rows behind me!

So I once again counted my blessings of yet another fantastic day as I watched the USA lose to Finland for the bronze medal.

My seat for the bronze medal game

Where were you for the bronze medal game?

Olympic Spirit Project postcards are now available! 

BUY NOW!

 

 

 

Sochi Day 8 – Speed Skating Day!

Iceberg Skating Palace

It was team pursuit speed skating day!

I went to the Olympic Park early and met up with some other Canadians to grab a couple of drinks (ok, ok, beers…) in the sun before our day’s events. As we sat on our bench, people watching, probably one out of every three Russians walking by either wanted a photo with us or wanted to trade stuff for our Canada gear! We probably posed for about 20 photos that day!

Canadian Beauties!

This super cute Russian girl came up and asked me if she could wear my Canada gear for a photo, so I handed over my flag, toque and mittens, and she ROCKED it! You’d never know that she wasn’t Canadian!

Russian girl in Canada gear

Team Pursuit Speed Skating

When the time came, I headed into the Adler Skating Arena for the speed skating team pursuit event. The short track was so amazing earlier in the week so I was looking forward to watching a team pursuit event. The speed was insane as I watched both the men’s and women’s events. I still cannot believe the size of the athletes’ legs! Wow!

Sadly, Canada didn’t qualify for the finals, so that was a bit disappointing. I was lucky to have had the opportunity to photography the same team when they won gold in the same event at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

Inside the Iceberg Skating Palace

Team Canada - Team Pursuit Speed Skating Sochi 2014

Team Canada

Team Canada - Team Pursuit Speed Skating Sochi 2014

Team Canada

Team Russia - Team Pursuit Speed Skating Sochi 2014

Team Russia

Team Netherlands - Team Pursuit Speed Skating Sochi 2014

Team Netherlands

After the event was over, I headed toward the Bolshoy Arena to see if I could find a decently priced ticket for the men’s semi-final hockey game. Canada was playing the USA. I didn’t have any luck, so I went to find some food and again, I ran into a group of Canadians in the lineup. This group was a bit different though, in that they had been in Russia working on the Games for over six months already! I chatted with them about their experiences and what it was like to live in Russia and every one of them was looking forward to going home at the end of the month.

Men’s 5000m Relay

After I finished eating, I headed back to the Bolshoy for one last kick at trying to get a ticket to the game and one of that group of Canadians ran after me to give me a ticket to the short track relay event that was about to start. I tried to give him money for it (face value was at $200), but he insisted I just take it and go enjoy myself! Again, I was impressed by how amazingly generous people can be!

When I arrived, the event had already begun. This was a huge event for the Russians and the cheering in the Iceberg Skating Palace was deafening! The relay event was CRAZY! There were so many skaters on the ice all at once, some racing and some circling on the inside getting into position for their turn in the relay. It was a wonder that none of them ran into each other!

Russia wins Gold in the 5000m relay at Sochi 2014

Russia wins GOLD!

USA wins Silver in the 5000m relay at Sochi 2014

USA wins Silver!

China wins bronze in the 5000m relay at Sochi 2014

China wins Bronze!

 

The final result of the men’s 5000 meter relay was Russia – Gold, the USA – Silver, and China – Bronze. It was an unbelievable sight and the cheering and support from the crowd was unmatched to anything I had seen at the Games yet! It was absolutely awesome! Just. AWESOME!

A Perfect End to a Perfect Day

I was pumped after all that fan energy at the men’s 5000m relay event! The Canada vs USA men’s hockey game wasn’t quite over so I sweet talked my way past the bouncer at the House of Switzerland (sweet talking bouncers is much easier to do when you are traveling alone) to watch the last 10 minutes of the game. As we all know, Canada WON! and the Swiss House EXPLODED because as usual, it was FULL of Canadians! It was a perfect end to another FANTASTIC day!

Have you ever watched either team pursuit or team relay speed skating? When and where? 

 

My Face Was On the MegaFon Pavilion!

One of the coolest sponsor displays at Sochi 2014 had to be MegaFon Faces on the jumbotron in the Olympic park. The MegaFon jumbotron wasn’t just ANY jumbotron though…

Remember those Pinart things where you put your hand in to depress the pins so it takes the shape of your hand (or whatever other body part or object you put in there)? So the MegaFon jumbotron was more like jumbo-Pinart! So when a friend asked me is I wanted to go meet the MegaFon representative and have my face on the thing, of course I said yes! (cuz seriously, that’s Awesome!)

MegaFon Pinart Jumbotron

So we were invited upstairs to the VIP area at the MegaFon pavillion, where we were offered champagne (and coffee, but who drinks coffee when there’s champagne??) while we sat on their cushy couches and gave them our info before stepping into the photobooth to have our photos taken for the jumbo-Pinart.

When we were all done, they gave us each a Sochi 2014 branded Pinart souvenir (a perfect gift for my 5-year-old nephew!) and then we had to wait a couple of hours before it would show up on the jumbotron, and they said would text us when it did.

So here is what it looked like (skip to 0:25 to see my face start showing up):

So ya… I thought that was pretty cool!

 

 

Holland Heineken House 2014

Holland Heineken House 2014As a Dutch Canadian, the Holland Heineken House was a must see for me. Before coming to Russia I had been in contacted the Holland House press center and was granted a press pass, so I went to check it out!

I knew that it was located in the Azimut Hotel, but it was a bit confusing to find and was about a 20 minute walk from the entrance to the Olympic Park. I knew I was on the right track when I started seeing tulips!

When I arrived, I passed through security and met with their corporate relations representative who toured me around the house telling me all about the celebrations and the success of the Dutch athletes.

One crazy story was that their “bitterballen” (traditional Dutch croquette appetizer) were restricted  from entering Russia in customs, so they brought in the Master Croquettemaker from Holland instead. He produced and rolled hundreds of these little balls everyday for the Heineken House Cafe!

Holland Heineken House is by reputation one of the best places to celebrate at the Olympics, and Sochi was no exception. These photos tell that story pretty well!

(Gallery photos courtesy of the Heineken.)

Men’s Ski Cross and Ladies’ Halfpipe Skiing

It was another gorgeous sunny morning in Sochi and although I had lost my voice, I was finally starting to feel a bit better from that nasty flu.  Day 7 was my last day in the mountains for men’s ski cross and ladies half-pipe skiing.

There was a pretty big Canadian presence at the men’s ski cross event and after a week of events I was starting to know and recognize many of the Canadian fans. Canada made it to the big final along with three French competitors, but sadly came in 4th. The three Frenchmen took all three medals!

Men's Ski CrossCanadian Fans at Men's Ski Cross

Men's Ski Cross French Medalists

 We headed to Austria House next where we met a crazy crew of Americans who pumped us full of beer and vodka… (Thanks for the good times Boys!)

Austria House with Crazy Americans

Austria House with Crazy Americans

Austria House with Crazy Americans

 After I was fed and ‘watered’ I went up the mountain again where the ladies’ half-pipe event was making its Olympic debut. There were several injuries during the evening, but it was amazing to watch these women compete! Awesome!

Olympics 2014 - Ladies Ski Cross Olympics 2014 - Ladies Ski Cross Olympics 2014 - Ladies Ski Cross

Olympics 2014 - Ladies Ski Cross Olympics 2014 - Ladies Ski Cross

Before the finals of the event, Sochi volunteers skiied down the halfpipe in the shape of a heart to honour Sarah Burke’s memory. Sarah Burke was a pioneer in the halfpipe event and won four X-Games titles before she suddenly died in early 2012 due to a skiing accident. It was nice to see her remembered at the ladies halfpipe Olympic debut event.

Sochi 2014 - Sarah Burke Tribute

The final results of the event: USA – Gold, France – Silver, Japan – Bronze.