SOCHI, Russia - It's one thing to be a fan and watch your favorite athlete from the stands. It's another to actually experience what they see, try on their clothes and sit in their sleds.


People in Russia are used to the Hermitage, the Kremlin - the museums where you look at beautiful things but certainly can't touch.

For the Olympics in Sochi, the organizing committee had a dream of something different.

"We had an idea and the idea was sort of courageous," said Elena Brandt, Russian Team Fans House Manager. "It was that everyone is a part of a big team."

In 2013, a survey showed Russian people didn't know many of the Olympic sports or the athletes that represented the country in the competitions.

The Russian Team Fans House is an attempt to change that. It's more of an experience, than a house, really. It's a place where almost nothing is off limits to try and touch.

"The big sport is divided, separated from our usual life and this is sort of a bridge from you as a person to the big sports," Brandt said. "So you can feel these people are like you just a little stronger."

The line outside the door and inside to try things is constant. Brandt said organizers hoped but didn't expect this kind of a turnout.

But Maksim Tsepelev doesn't mind.

"I came to see the fan house, it's great, super," he said. "I could've stood in line longer for this."

Tsepelev was one of many standing in line to take a photo wearing a real jersey of a USSR hockey star Vladislav Tretyak.

Organizers say 8-12,000 people visit the fan house very day. The numbers could even be higher.

"The opportunity of not just buying a shirt with an inscription Tretyak, but seeing his actual shirt, sort of a unique opportunity for people," Brandt said.

Sergei Sadnikov had only several words to summarize his experience, "I have goose bumps, he said."

"This is our country, these are our hockey players, our Olympics," said Tsepelev.

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