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  • Day 4, February 20

    Days 4 and 5 were both pretty busy with specific Olympics events.  Before I headed up to Vancouver, Mariska and I had bought Ice Dance (training) tickets for Saturday, February 20th, starting at 7am!  Although 7am didn’t happen, Jaime and I did make it there by about 9:30am and with 3.5 hours of women’s figure skating (training) and ice dance, I think we saw a fair bit and had a good fill of ice skating.   It was absolutely beautiful, particularly the couples, some with just incredible lifts and unbelievable poses.  The Canadian couple had a good performance, though I wouldn’t have picked them to win gold (which they did in the end).  Jaime and I enjoyed commenting on the outfits, synchronization, themes, and overall match to the music.  What were the Germans thinking in their costumes? Russia & US, boring! China, ugly! Hungary, cool 80s theme! The folk dance couples were cute too.

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    Late afternoon Eddie and I decided to press our luck and head down to Canada Hockey Place to try to get tickets to the Latvia-Slovakia hockey game for less than $80.  We succeeded!  Had great seats for $75.  We saw poor Latvia take a whoopin, but it was exciting to be in the crowd full of energy, cheers, and get great shots of the athletes and attend what would be my last Olympic event for this time around.

    Day 5, February 21

    My last day, and with a 5pm departure time, I wanted to see some of the National houses.  The first we went to was Korea, which was meant to be a showcase of Korean heritage, high tech, and winter sports as Korea bids for the 2018 Winter Games (along with Munich, Germany and France).  It was somewhat disappointing and didn’t have nearly the exhibits I expected, or even a very good showcase of the culture or bid location.

    Next we went to the House which will be hosting the 2014 Olympics: Sochi.Ru or more familiarly, Russia. Where is Sochi? With the help of a friend, we avoided the 2 hour line and got in with Media passes.  That was pretty awesome.  The pictures of Sochi look stunning, and there was a good display of Russian culture, both positive and negative.  Watch my video on flickr to see a Russian culture music troupe.  That was the positive.  The negative was the coldness and the attitudes of the Russian hosts.  They were very unfriendly, only mildly helpful, and seemed to want to be rid of us as soon as possible.  And we were wearing media passes!  One would think they’d want to encourage people to come to the 2014 Games and thereby give a good impression of Russian hospitality, it didn’t work out that way.  Particularly as ‘media people’ we have the power to influence others’ thoughts and perceptions, therefore they should want to influence us positively–but just disappointing.

    Vancouver did a superior job at hospitality, in terms of its people, efficiency of public transportation, positive energy, parties etc.  Even my mom’s friend commented, “Almost everyone I spoke with is going to go to the next olympics in Russia due to the fun and excitement they had in Vancouver.”  My response, did any of them actually go to the Russia House (Sochi.ru)?  If so, I think they may have a different perspective of what the Russian Olympics will be like.

    Russia will have a big PR campaign ahead of it, but each host city always faces huge challenges and still manages to pull off a great, world-class event.  Regardless where the Olympics are held, in my 2 experiences thus far  (Beijing), they are fantastic!   I hoping my next Olympics will be Rio de Janeiro in 2016!!

    See Vancouver Day 1, Day 2-3, or all of my Vancouver Olympics pics on Flickr.

  • Day 2:  February 18

    After all the excitement of Day 1, Day 2 was a little bit slower.  In the afternoon there was a Canada Hockey game for which some Canada Hockey fans had organized a hockey Tweetup.  Yes, its just what it sounds like, lots of people on twitter sit around a big screen watching hockey, drinking, cheering, and tweeting.

    Hockey Tweetup

    Next was probably the highlight of that day: Vancouver Victory Ceremony.   The VVC is held at BC Place and includes the medals presentation and a concert.

    First about the concert, throughout the Olympics each day was themed based on one of Canada’s provinces.  This means that there were special activities or performances provided by that province.  On the day we went to the Vancouver Victory Ceremony, it was Prince Edward Island Day. Therefore, the performers hailed from PEI; in this case, a boy band called Hedley.

    The best part of the February 18th VVC, though, was the medals presentation.  As an American, I was proud to hear the national anthem played twice for our gold medalists on that day.  One gold medalist was speed skater Shani Davis, and the other–probably the most famous US winter athlete–snowboarder, Shaun White!!!  It was also cool for me to see the medal presentation of the Women’s 500M short track race that’d I’d seen China win the day before.

    After that the 4 of us went for a late dinner at the Revel Room, man! was it hard to find a place to sit down and eat that didn’t have a 45min wait at 9pm.  Later we saw some of the anti-Olympics protesters on Hastings with the slogan, ‘Homes, not Games.’

    Day 3, February 19

    This was the first day that I didn’t have any scheduled events or official Olympics events to attend, but still managed to find fun stuff to do!  Because my friends had media passes for the BC Media Center, they invited us in to join the Wine Tasting of BC wines.  We tasted some absolutely fabulous ice wines, as well as official wines of the Olympics GamesStanleyCup, namely the Sumac Ridge sparkling wine, which I subsequently bought.  If you’re interested in learning more about the making of the wine and our wine tasting, watch our video on UStream.

    Also in the BCMC was the Stanley Cup.  I know some (Canadian) people would freak out at this comment and the below picture, but I was simply like, oooh what’s the shiny trophy with all the writing on it?  I’m not from a hockey family, and not from a hockey part of the country, I don’t know what to tell ya.

    For dinner, we joined friends in a pub, talking about the Olympics, taking pictures with Quatchi (the Olympic mascot), and met more awesome Canadians.  Later that night, I met up with Jeff who I know from Shanghai to go to one of his friend’s houses overlooking what was Yaletown LiveCity.  That night was the (unbeknownstly to me) famous DJ, Dead Mou5 performing.  After that was a fireworks and water show.  Over the lake they turned on the fountains and then projected Olympics images onto the flowing water–that was pretty cool.

    Full Olympics pictures on Flickr.  Day 4 and 5 coming up…

  • Vancouver Olympics, Day 1

    February 18th, 2010

    Yesterday was my first day at the Olympics and it was amazing!  The day started out with a photo walk around downtown taking pictures of the Olympic flame,

    Olympic Flame

    then down to Robson Square to see the Chinese gold and silver medal pairs figure skating champions do brief performances.  Canada’s national youth skaters also performed, with as man as 10 of them on the ice as once!  It was very awesome for me personally to see the Chinese team and to hear their introduction in Chinese as we all celebrate the Year of the Tiger (so they said).

    China's figure skaters

    Then we went to the British Columbia Media Center! And watch some snowboard half pipe on TV before getting some lunch at a pub in Gastown and watching hockey on TV.

    Late afternoon I headed to the Pacific Coliseum as I was fortunate enough to wrangle a ticket to the Short Track Speed Skating.  At Wednesday’s Short Track was Women’s 500M quarterfinal, semifinal, and final–yes we did get to see the final, including flower ceremony.  In the end China won gold, and the home team, Canada silver!  It was also Men’s 1000M and Men’s 5000M semifinal relay.  In the relay 4 teams compete at once, each with 4 guys on the ice so you can imagine it was quite crowded.  But due to a disqualification, the final will be even more crowded: 5 team, 4 guys each!  What you learn when watching Short Track, is its not over till its over!

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    Inspiring event! Great day!  Full photos on Flickr. Keep reading, Days 2-3, Days 4-5, or the full post of Day 1 on VancouverAccess