Sunday, February 28, 2010

I Am Biathlon Curious and Other Olympic Thoughts

Going to the Olympics last weekend was one of the highlights of my life. I have wanted to go to one as long as I have known there were Olympics and now I can cross that off my life list. Except that I would absolutely go again if it were even close to being a reasonably affordable trip. There is so much to say about it that trying to type it all out normally would lead to a more jumbled post than usual so I will do it with bullet points. Also, please excuse the random, out of order pictures. Blogger has become almost impossible to use when it comes to pictures anymore and I am tired of dealing with it.

  • We got to see men's 1500m long-track speed skating, the men's 15km mass-start biathlon, and the women's 15km mass-start biathlon. We loved these events but would have been happy at any. I am particularly glad to have seen speed skating because that is the event out of all Olympic sports that I would most want to do. I feel a kinship to my large quaded brethren.
  • Biathlon is awesome. I always thought this was kind of a silly sport but after seeing it live and seeing the legions of crazed European fans at the venue I have a new found respect for the sport. The tiny bit of cross country skiing I have done makes me appreciate their efforts even more. Someday when I am rolling in extra cash I plan on becoming a patron of biathlon. C'mon America, get behind this sport. It is right up our alley. It has guns!

  • The Dutch really are that crazy about speed skating. The Richmond Oval was filled to the rafters with rabid Dutch fans all wearing orange and cheering on their countrymen. We were rooting for Shani Davis to take the gold but if it couldn't be one of our guys then let it be someone from The Netherlands. Any people who love a sport that much deserve a gold medal.

    • The reports that this is the worst Olympics ever and what colossal mistakes the Vancouver Organizing Committee have made were clearly talking about an entirely different event then what we were seeing. Everything from security screenings, concessions, transportation all went off without a hitch for us. There were volunteers EVERYWHERE telling you where you needed to go, answering questions and being unfailing enthusiastic and polite. We could not have asked for a better organized experience.
    • There is a cowbell app for the iPhone.

    • Ringing a cowbell at a sporting event is waaaaay more fun then it should be. I clanged and cheered for everybody. Every speed skater, every biathlete got cheers and some cowbell. Of course, when it came to the Americans or the Canadians they got MORE COWBELL. Do you think I can start bringing the cowbell to baseball games?

    • Seeing the Olympic flame was a thrill. There is just something about the pageantry and the history; knowing this flame came all the way from Greece in a tradition that dates back thousands of years kind of gives you chills. Yes, they shouldn't have put it behind a chain-link fence but we waited the 45 minutes to get an unobstructed view and it was worth it. Absolutely beautiful.

    • I am a patriotic person and I love my country very much but I am not much of an outwardly flag waving person. We just do it too much in this country for every occasion to the point that it seems cheap and insincere. That being said, I loved seeing the Canadians all dressed up in their red, white and maple leafs. People at the events and people just out in the city were dressed in their colors, waving their flag, proudly rooting for their country and showing the kind of unabashed patriotism Americans get slammed for. Again, if we just didn't do it so damn often...

    • The Dutch brass band, Kleintje Pils, playing during breaks in the speed skating action at the Oval. They played a lot of tunes only the Dutch knew but they clearly spoke the international language: the language of Neil Diamond. The Neil-ness starts at about the 1:00 minute mark.

    • You can't get a sense of the level of excitement that is going on at the events from watching it on TV. People were in great moods, the vibe was all cheerful, everyone was happy to be at such special events and to be able to cheer on their athletes. The sounds and sights of crazed fans is as much a part of the fun as the actual events.

    The weekend exceeded my wildest expectations. It really was the best Christmas present ever.


    aeep said...

    Sounds so awesome! Seriously, you guys are SO cool!

    Kath said...

    Sounds like you had a great time. I'm so excited to know someone who has been to the Olympics!!

    The Devil's Starchy Fingers said...

    You actually know lots (lots = four). Val and Jeremie went up to see men's aerials last week.