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Days 6 and 7 – Biathlon, curling and generally a quick note…

March 18, 2010

Gosh, it gets late so fast!  How does that happen?  (Yes, that is a rhetorical question… 🙂 ).

So yesterday I went up to the Whistler Paralympic Park to see some biathlon, and it was pretty darned exciting!  I even got something resembling good weather (sun, blowing snow, then more sun).  I have come to the simple conclusion that there is nothing that humans cannot do.  We have this amazing ability to be creative that defies what nature sometimes hands us and it is beyond inspirational.  I had been committed to making the best of things before, but there is no way to compare my general zeal to the ability of athletes either without arms or without vision to aim, shoot and be perfectly on target with biathlon (a 2cm wide target – 20 times!).  I hope that everyone remembers, when faced with an obstacle, that there is always a way around, over, under or through it… you just have to look hard enough.

The forerunners on the biathlon course - the do a lap to make sure all is clear and perfect for the competing athletes.

On the right is Josef Giesen from Germany - the Bronze Medal winner in Men's 12.5km standing biathlon.

Though it was cold sometimes, it really was beautiful!

Hmmm… that sounds very serious, and I don’t entirely mean this post to be, other than the seriousness of my admiration for our athletes from around the world.  So yes, biathlon was pretty wonderful yesterday, and certainly well worth the journey.  Today I volunteered in the morning and was spoiled by being asked to speak to athletes and have them sign the Truce Register.  It is a book that the athletes sign in support of the Olympic and Paralympic Truce.  This is an ancient tradition of the laying down of arms during a Games.  And while it unfortunately does not happen world-wide during the Games nowadays, it is symbolic of how sport supports peace.  Of how a game of kick-ball or stick hockey can bring people together in the name of sport.  The athletes sign in recognition and support of how sport promotes peace.  The sign a maple leaf cut-out in how they use sport to support peace in their own lives and communities, and they sign the Truce installation at the Village, an art piece that will stand to represent both Vancouver 2010 and all of our hopes for peace worldwide.  It was an amazing thing to be asked to participate in.

The day however was a wacky one… Canada lost in sledge hockey to Japan in a hard battled game.  And with the results this evening we will be playing against Norway for the Bronze medal (USA vs. Japan for the Gold).  I have been reminded that I am not a competitive person.  I have met many of the men on the Canadian sledge hockey team and really quite adore them.  But I have also met many of the men on the Norwegian team and am quite fond of them as well.  I would have preferred if we were playing Japan or the USA in the final game as I have not had the opportunity to meet any of them so I find it easier to cheer patriotically and enthusiastically for Canada.  Not that I won’t be in the Bronze medal game but I would have thought much less of the other team’s feelings.  Sigh… this (and a million other reasons) is why I am not a Paralympic or Olympic athlete… I have no competitive instinct.  But in the end… Go Canada Go!!

This evening I got to attend another round of wheelchair curling and it was fascinating.  It is such a tough and precise sport.  It’s wonderful to watch.  I admit I had preferred teams (teams that I have met members of… see not nearly competitive enough 🙂 ) but to some extent I was cheering for all of the teams.  Canada had already clinched a spot in the Gold medal game so there wasn’t much pressure on them this evening.  I went with Christina, a very good friend from the Olympic Superstore, and we met all sorts of nice people while we were at the Games.  Heck, after the Games we even got to speak with some of the athletes (I even got my photo take with the Great Britain team, along with Mo and her friend Kat).  It was a wonderful night!

Swiss snacks at the half-way mark.

We tried to get some guys into the shot to sit with the ladies but they weren't very brave. So it is three Canadians and the whole Great Britain curling team! (Funny, I just noticed now that the Canadians are in red and the curlers in white!).

Tomorrow I’m hoping for an early ziptrek across Robson Street (anyone want to meet me around 9am?) and I have volunteering in the afternoon.  Oh, and if you’re free at 2:30pm on Friday, March 19 then you’ll want to stop by Hillside Stadium to watch the tie-breaking game between Sweden and Italy.  It is FREE!!  First come first served for seats though, so be quick.  It should be a good game!

Until the next post… thank you merci!

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