Maria Sharapova has returned home to Sochi, Russia this month as an Olympic correspondent for NBC Sports. The 26-year-old who spent 5-6 years of her childhood in Sochi learning the sport of tennis, says her fellow athletes are in good hands in the city.
“Once I arrived here, I knew that all the athletes will feel extremely safe,” Sharapova told CNN. “I certainly had my doubts before, because I’ve been reading a lot about the city itself. Over the last few months I’ve been reading a lot of the media and watching television, but now I’ve seen how everything has come together.”
Sharapova was born in Siberia before moving to Sochi at age 2.
“Many things have changed in the last 20 years or so,” she said.
“It has been such an incredible turnaround since winning the (right to host the) Olympics. I am so happy that everyone has a chance to come here and visit the true meaning of the city – because at its core, it’s a very beautiful city that is so full of nature.
“It’s such a unique opportunity to be able to swim in the Black Sea and then drive an hour up to the mountains to ski — that’s the type of experience we want to share with everyone that comes here.”
By working for NBC, Sharapova will be unable to play in either Doha or Dubai the next two weeks.
“Maria transcends sports as one of the world’s most recognizable stars,” said Jim Bell, Executive Producer of NBC Olympics. “Growing up in Sochi until she was 6 years old and with family and friends still living in the area, Maria will offer a unique and personal perspective on a place she knows so well.”
Here’s video of Maria being interviewed by the Today show yesterday:
— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) February 6, 2014
— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) February 7, 2014
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