personal stories

Autographs

I was so intent on getting to our speed skating 1OOOM final I wasn't watching my step and slammed right into four-time Olympic gold medalist speed skater Johann Koss. Of course I know Johann well, as the founder of Right To Play , but because we were at the Olympics my daughter wanted his autograph.

Line-Ups

Ten mintes later we are in a line-up again. Everybody around me is in a good mood but anxious about whether we get in on time. Being somewhat old hand at this I can console them that the line goes pretty fast. Actually my son is giving some Germans advice on how to find a good place in the security line; he is convinced that the express line is slower than the bag line.

Olympic Heart Burn

I am experiencing rather intense heartburn after several days of eating Olympic venue food. As a rule, I don't munch on a luke warm hot dog midmorning but, given that you can't bring food into any Olympic venue, I have been left with little choice. So here is what is on the Olympic menu at every event I have attended. Hot dog, veggie dog, pepperoni pizza, nachos with artificial cheese, greek salad pita's, dome dogs, salted pretzels and chips and candy bars. That folks is the fine display of healthy food available at the Vancouver Olympic Games.

Truck Driver

Last night we went straight from Snowboard Cross to Figure Skating. Sounds easy enough since Snowboard started at ten thirty in the morning. After a lot of hurry and wait, we arrived downtown at four thirty and were told it would take an hour by bus to get to Pacific Coliseum. We started walking towards Hastings when I realized we weren’t getting there fast enough. Just then I saw a truck stopped at the light. I rapped on the window assured the driver we weren’t crazy but we were late for Figure Skating.

Always on Camera

Figure Skating was another first yesterday. The whole atmosphere was so intimate you could see the skaters in the ready area with their coaches. Being at the event it really hit home that these athletes are never free of the cameras. There is even a camera completely dedicated to following the coach. -- Silken

A Day of Firsts

Yesterday was a day of firsts. William was keen on getting tickets for snowboard cross, a sport I had never even heard about. Thanks to Omega my kids and I attended and had an absolutely crazy fun time. The sport is skilled boarding, tactics and chance, all built into one.  Four Canadians made it into the quarterfinal, which made for crazy amounts of cheering and foot stomping on the bleachers. My son was cheering madly for Fagan who got grabbed by a snow snake according to my fiancée, and was eliminated from the next round.

Sat Feb 13 Update

Today we went to Long Track Speed Skating - Men’s 5OOOM. Those crazy Dutch fans were almost as loud as us Canadians. When Sven Kramer won gold the whole band started and the entire grandstand erupted in singing!   Great athletes, and as endurance athletes whose race last roughly the same time, I could relate to the pain.

Impressions

The Opening Ceremonies were amazing as seen through the eyes of my children. They were so happy to be there and they knew they were lucky. Kate sprayed her hair red and spent the entire time talking and pointing so much, I worried that our gracious hosts the Royal Bank, would ask her to be quiet. My son was so awed he was absolutely mute, but at one point leaned over and told me it was the best day of his life.

Left Behind

Recently I worked alongside another Canadian athlete, also a woman, whose athletic careers and early professional careers have paralleled mine. She is now entrenched in sport policy, the Olympic Games, national and international sport boards and has built a remarkable and successful career through hard work and focus.

The Magic Torch

The biggest thrill in carrying the Olympic Flame as one of Canada’s first runners (ok, walkers) was having my kids on the Legislature lawns watching on. Actually screaming is a better word, Kate was on my fiancé’s shoulders screaming “Go Mommy” as if I was competing in an Olympic final. It didn’t make me walk any faster. My old injury was a great excuse but really I just wanted to fully enjoy the thrill of actually carrying the Olympic flame and the energy of the crowd for the full two hundred metres.

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