Much of the attention before the 2014 Winter Olympics was devoted to the conditions the athletes had to deal with in Sochi. Whether it was stray dogs or the Olympic ring that didn't light up in the Opening Ceremony, Sochi was an easy target for criticism.
But USA bobsledder Aja Evans said nothing but positive things about her experience in Russia.
"As you can imagine with any new establishment, you have little things you got to work out," Evans said. "But by the time it was go time and race week, everything was flawless. They were so accommodating."
Evans and her partner, Jamie Greubel, snagged bronze in the women's bobsled just behind another American duo. Evans, who is an Illinois native, originally started off as a track star at the University of Illinois and participated in the 2008 Olympic Trials. It was a quick turn around for her to pick up a new sport in bobsledding and to then qualify for Sochi, but it was also a valuable learning experience.
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"The biggest thing I learned was my determination and how much that plays a part in it," Evans said. "You can't let anyone or anything get in between that. If it's what you want, then you make it happen. You go out there and do everything possible."
One of the most famous bobsled teams in Sochi was from Jamaica. Evans said she talked with them frequently and thought they were inspiring.
"Those guys are really encouraging especially Winston Watts," Evans said. "Just to talk to him and hear his story sit down with some of the guys. They were cheering us on like crazy too. It was awesome."