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Cafeteria of nations

01. 03 2009 13:50:00

(Liberec – own) Each morning the colorful migration of talented athletes, coaches, support staff and volunteers begin to trickling into the Harcov cafeteria that has now become the athletes village for the World Nordic Ski Championships.  Situated in the center of the six building dorm complex, this cafeteria greets these individuals with delicious food where no one leaves hungry. Sitting in this microcosm of the world population you can not tell that each of them are competitors on the snow, each seeking a medal and the opportunity to stand on the Medal Presentation Platform the evening following their specific event.  These athletes, both male and female, speak many languages, sit at the same tables and talk about many things.  They laugh with each other, congratulate the winners from the day before and each demonstrate a true form of sportsmanship that is common on the World Cup circuit.

One can only imagine what goes on among team members as they prepare to compete.  It becomes serious business and athletes, coaches and support teams confer on what will give their team a competitive edge in the event.  Here they do not compare thoughts with other teams.  With breakfast completed, you watch as the teams walk to their waiting vans to take them to the venue of the day.  A look if deep concentration is now on their faces, they are preparing to compete on the world stage and may the best athlete this day win and enjoy the fruits of their work.

As the day comes to a close following the end of the event, the vans begin appearing in the dormitory parking lot and the athletes walk back to the cafeteria for dinner.  Some are winners, most are not this day, but all are competitors in the eyes of their many fans.  At dinner there is no lining up, no looking into the distance, they wear no numbers, they once again stand behind their fellow athletes with a tray in hand as they fill their plates with the dinner meal.  The discussions resume around the tables begun in the morning, coaches congratulate each other, athletes hug and congratulate those who they competed against just a few hours before.  Some teams take 6 tables to get everyone together while at another table of 4 there are two country teams eating together.

By 10 p.m. the cafeteria doors are closed, the food put away and the cafeteria crew prepares for another day that will come in less than 8 hours and it all begins again.  This venue is open to all nations from Algeria to Venezuela and each day among the sit winners.

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