FRANKTOWN - Athletes are always the center of attention at the Olympic Games. After all, it's about them. But before and during the competition, tens of thousands of people make it work logistically.
Brian Thompson is one of them. Thompson works for Avaya in Sochi, Russia.
"For the Olympics, for Avaya, I lead the team that's responsible for installing and configuring the data networks, as well as the phone system for the games," Thompson said.
In simple terms, this means Thompson is in charge of making the computers and phones work.
Avaya won the contract in 2011. Thompson has been living in Russia for nearly 18 months.
"This has really been an experience of a lifetime," he said. "You miss your family, your miss your friends."
Thompson is a former member of the military and said he always had an interest in Russia. While in the service, he was a Russian linguist. He was also stationed in West Berlin for three years.
Originally from Wisconsin, the Thompsons picked Colorado to be their home in 1995 and settled on a ranch in Franktown.
"We've got a little bit of a Noah's Ark here," Thompson said. "We've got dogs, a bird. We've got two horses and bout 42 to 44 alpacas."
As much he loves it home, Thompson jumped at an opportunity to live and work overseas, leaving his wife of 32 years Nancy to man the farm, so to speak.
"The only way that happens [is] if you have tremendous support from people in your life, and that's really Nancy my wife," he said.
They used to see each other somewhat often for a couple who lives on different continents: every six weeks. But now as the games approach, Thompson is really busy.
He speaks fluent Russian. He's so fluent, a man he met on the job while in Russia suspected him to be CIA.
"In the course of the conversations Alexei said, 'So Brian, how long did you work at the CIA?' I said 'Alexei, I didn't work at the CIA, I was in the military,'" Thompson said.
The military almost prepared him for life overseas.
"I'm not real adventurous with my pallet," Thompson said. "You have to learn to embrace it. You can't live off the same diet and the same routine you have back home because it's different."
Coming home to visit is great, but Brian is bracing for what moving back home will look like, when the Olympics are done, and he'll be going to back to the ranch.
"I guess I'll call it a reverse cultural adaptation in terms of coming home and getting used to things back in the U.S.," he said.
Thompson doesn't know what the future holds after the Olympics.
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