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Olympics Day 3 – Adventures in Speed Skating!

February 15, 2010

It was a wonderfully adventurous day today… I am going to leave out some parts of the story, as it is long, but the end result was that our new best pal and cab driver extraordinaire, Vino, dropped us at the Richmond Olympic Oval (ROO) at 12:40pm this afternoon, 20 minutes before the women’s 3,000m long track speed skating competition.  My dad Doug and I headed for the lineup that extended down the dyke along the Fraser River, and as we had only two tickets to the competition my Mom Sharon set out to explore Richmond and the O Zone.

With only a few minutes until the racing started in the ROO the lineups for security were really long… but then for some reason they seemed to nearly vanish and we made it in just after 1pm, missing only a tiny bit of the action (not bad considering how late we arrived at the venue!).  Our seats, while only 10 rows off of the ice, were an incredible number of people in along the row.  We shuffled past everyone and found ourselves in a corner with no one behind us so we could stand and cheer all we wanted!

I have to say, seeing speed skating in person is really differenet than seeing it on tv.  And the crowd was super pumped for the action!  Nearly everyone was in either Canadian red (the majority) or Dutch orange (the minority) with a few smatterings of Americans, Germans, and Czechs.  There was a brass band to keep the mood going during the mid-point ice cleaning (sorry to the Workforce member that had to tell them that they played enough, we did technically boo you for taking away our entertainment but it wasn’t personal… 🙂 we know you were doing your job).

A local dutch-style band, Kleintje Pils, keeping us all excited and dancing!

Zamboni's cleaning and prepping the ice at the Richmond Olympic Oval.

There were 14 pairs of women skating today and the first Canadian was Cyndi Klassen in the 10th pair.  All she did was come out onto the ice for some warm up and the crowd went wild!  It was pretty obvious that the reaction she got was not typical by the pleased/bemused/awed look on Cyndi’s face. We were ecstatic to see her and I think she was pleased to see and hear all of us.  And not to fear, we were damned noisy for Clara Hughes and Kristina Groves as well!  They all skated very well but really, the Czech girl, Martina Sablikova, really, really kicked it.  She was amazing to watch.  But Kristina skated in the second to last pair, and sat in third at that point.  When the last pair, including the previous Olympic champion, started we all held our breath.  They were fast!  They came out strong and quick and continued… but then, two laps from the end they both started fading.  First the champ fell behind Kristina’s time, but the German kept pushing.  And as much as I wanted them to do well for themselves, I couldn’t help thinking “please come across the line as a 4, please be slower than Kristina!” and they both were!  I screamed and jumped and cheered!  It was fantastic to be at an event when Canada won a medal!  Whew! So much excitement.

From the Oval we met Mom for a quick drink and then a Canada Line ride home.  I had to change like lightning to make it to BC Place on time for the Victory Ceremonies.  I was successful, and even managed to get a cab to near BC Place so I wasn’t even late!  Conveniently, my friend was a bit behind me so I got to stand in the middle of the Robson and Beatty intersection, with hundreds of other people, watching the screens at the Alberta Pavilion where we all got to watch Alexandre Bilodeau win Canada’s first Olympic Gold medal on home soil!  He did an amazing job in the men’s moguls and was truly impressive to watch and I cannot express how happy I am that I got to see that live, surrounded by hundreds of other screaming Canadians.  Really… another magical moment!

After finding my friend Justin, we headed in to see the Victory Ceremonies.  I got to see Jenn Heil be awarded her Silver Medal in women’s moguls from yesterday and Kristina Groves get her bronze medal from today!  It was awesome!  And then Nelly Furtado *from Victoria!) played!  Everything was wonderful!  And, as we’ve established already… I’m a very lucky girl.  I am getting to go to the Victory Ceremonies tomorrow and Tuesday as well!  And you know what tomorrow means??  I will get to be in the arena when Canada’s First Gold Medal on home soil is awarded!  WOW!!!  I am so so very lucky!  And I can’t wait to be there!

Our flag being raised for Canada's first Vancouver 2010 Olympic Medal - Jenn Heil's Silver in women's moguls!! We yelled ourselves hoarse!

The rest of my night was a bit more mellow.  A wonderful dinner down at Coal Harbour, then a crazy cab ride home (my cabbie obviously wanted to join the parties all along the streets) and now here, writing… and about to sleep.  I hope you had a wonderful, crazy, exciting Olympic Day, and that it’s even better tomorrow!

Thank you merci!

NOTE: Due to IOC and VANOC blogging rules I am not allowed to post photos of just ‘action’ or just ‘entertainment’ within the venues.  But that’s okay, you can always look at the papers or news tomorrow for images way better than what I usually manage to capture! 😀

Oh yes… and while I”m thinking about it. I still have to book a place but I’ll be having a 2010vanfan get-together for anyone who is interested and available on the evening of Saturday, February 20.  I will post more details once we have a place.  Hope to see you then!  Again- thank you merci!

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. Seth permalink
    February 15, 2010 1:05 am

    Wow, from those pics it looks like you weren’t sitting too far from me at the same event!

  2. February 15, 2010 2:19 am

    Great stories!

  3. Dave permalink
    February 15, 2010 3:31 am

    Hi Andrea,

    I have been following your blog religiously since December from Boston. I just wanted to say thank you, as it has helped me learn more about Vancouver and the things to do, as well as get me pumped for the Olympics. My wife and I are coming out this Friday until the following Thursday for 5 events. Maybe we can stop by to meet you and buy you a drink in appreciation on Saturday, after we attend the Slovakia vs Latvia hockey game. Thanks again!!

    • 2010vanfan permalink
      February 16, 2010 12:35 pm

      Hi Dave,
      It would be great if you could stop by. I’m going to try to get it all set up for Saturday today and be posting up hopefully later today. It’s so great that you’re up for the Olympics! I hope you’re having a wonderful time!
      Happy Olympics!
      Andrea

  4. Rowena permalink
    February 15, 2010 6:17 am

    What a great Olympic experience seeing Kristina Groves compete AND get the medal! Go Canada Go!

    I’m interested in your meetup and thankfully Im free that evening so far. Can’t wait to here about the details.

  5. Andrew permalink
    February 15, 2010 7:32 am

    Great job, VanFan! Wish I could be there with all of you, but my work prevented me from going out there. Awesome photos of the Opening Ceremonies! I saw the entire speed saskting event on TV, and I was jumping for joy when Kristina cracked top 3. Too bad about Klassen and Hughes, but they both looked like they were happy with their skates. And I must say, Sablikova was phenomenal – she deserved it. What a great winner, too – so happy and joyful along with her coach and every Czech person in the stadium. Everyone was saying how loud it was down there, but on TV, it didn’t come across that loud – must be different in person.

    Keep up the great photos and comments!

  6. February 15, 2010 9:10 am

    Once again, very enlightening Andrea. Nice pictures and the real feel of a true fan actually at the event. You must be really looking forward to seeing Alex Bilodeau receive his gold medal tonight. The first of many more to come for us! Keep on enjoying every aspect of these Games. Go Canada Go!

  7. Jo-Anne permalink
    February 15, 2010 9:23 am

    You just put so much excitement into your rendition of the events. Makes me emotional over and over again to feel those special moments through you. GO CANADA GO. Absolutely amazing job by Alex, we are so very proud of all the athletes, they have worked so hard to be here. YES GOLD FOR CANADA. YEEHAA.

  8. Sarah permalink
    January 17, 2011 3:16 am

    Hi Andrea!
    Those blogging rules are a bit silly but I have to say, you explain what was happening so well that it’s like we see it anyway!

Trackbacks

  1. Olympics Day 4 – Figure Skating practice and GOLD!!! « 2010VanFan
  2. Olympics Day 6 – A beautiful day in Vancouver + the place for pin trading « 2010VanFan

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