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Dispatches from Sochi: Where are the fanatics?

SOCHI, Russia -- Is it me or are there no fans here? Admittedly, I have yet to make it to the mountains, spending most of my time at the Main Press Center. But I have also been through town (Adler) and hiked around all the coastal venues to shoot scenics. I’ve even passed through public areas close to Olympic Park en route to my daily walk to ESPN’s liveshot position. And still …

Where are the crazy international Olympic fans? Where are the wild costumes and array of worldly outfits and drinking songs you see and hear at every Olympics (this is my 12th)? If any place needs some outrageous, over-the-top fanatical behavior from insane fans in wigs and face paint to bring some color to the scene, it is Sochi.

Fact: So far, I have seen more stray dogs than fans. Woof.

Many of my media brethren have had door issues -- as in the kind that don't lock to keep unwanted visitors out of your hotel rooms. On Thursday, I had a door issue of another sort. The door to our temporary, shoddily constructed (shocking) liveshot studio would not open … as in, "We have a liveshot for ‘SportsCenter’ in 30 minutes and I can't get in the freaking studio.”

Like so many other amenities here, the lock failed. We had to pry the door open with a piece of wood and a drill. I now have gold-medal like skills in breaking and entering. Did the liveshot. Jeremy Schaap looked great. Hoping for a new lock before the Olympic flame goes out. My prediction for that actually happening? Not likely.

Arty Berko is an enterprise unit producer for ESPN. He is covering his 12th Olympics in Sochi.