I've been trying to publish this post all day, but there was the small matter of the Gold Medal Hockey game to get through first. Not only was this the gold medal game, but it was against the US team, the very one who beat us rather soundly last week - mostly through our own laziness, I think. In case you missed it, the game was 2-1 Canada going into the 3rd period. Canada fought hard that whole last period and kept the score where it was - until the Americans scored with 24 seconds left!! So on it went to sudden-death overtime - until Sydney Crosby scored 7 min 40 seconds into overtime! YAY! CANADA GETS THE GOLD! (and yes, this is about more than the medal... this is Canada maintaining its supremacy as a Hockey nation. Its practically our national religion). :)
[ETA: Wow, that was written in a bit of post-game excitement... sorry!]
anyway.... back to my recap of our Olympic trip....
Mike and I were in Vancouver for only 5 days - we landed just after midnight on Friday the 19th, and flew home on Tuesday night (the 23rd) - just in time for me to land in NYC early in the morning, and then head into Uni to teach a lecture at mid-day. (for future reference, that's not a good idea!) :) While we were there, we went to 6 different events: the men's Latvia/Czech Republic round-robin hockey game on Friday; women's Super-G skiing on Saturday; women's round-robin curling on Sunday morning; the (utterly disastrous!) Canada vs. US hockey game on Sunday afternoon; the women's quarter-final US vs. Sweden hockey game on Monday; and the women's Skicross on Tuesday. All this, combined with visiting with my family, Mike's mom and youngest brother (who had also come to see the Olympics), and some of our friends made for a very busy 5 days. No wonder its taken us the rest of last week and all weekend to recover! :)
So, without inundating you with a million photos (we took lots - its a very bad habit of ours!), here are some of our hightlights:
We'll start with some shots of downtown Vancouver - Canada doesn't really do pedestrian malls in cities, but for the Olympics, they had closed many downtown streets to traffic. Good thing too, because the streets were jammed with people! :)
this is Robson square, behind the Art Gallery (which is on the left). That tower on the right is the end point of the zip line that they'd set up across the square - at one point there was an 8-hour line up to go across it! :)
this is Granville Street in the day...
and the same street at night, several days later.
and one of the Canadian made, 'Olympia' ice cleaners - its like a Zamboni, but its Canadian, and its environmentally friendly (something to do with the fuel it runs on, I think).
This was our view at around 9am on Saturday at Whistler Creekside - we had to catch a 6:30am bus to get there, and of course when you're in the mountains it takes a while for the sun to climb higher than the surrounding hills.
This is the crowd...
This photo was a fluke, but I love how these Germans are standing in a sea of Canadian Red.
After the race we walked down closer to the finish line - although you're still separated from the bottom by 2 lines of media, and some very thickly padded gates.
and Frobisher was there too, of course.
Sunday morning was curling... there was a pipe band to lead in the players, as a tribute to the Scottish heritage of the game
The Canadian skip is shown here in the front sheet, in black, with the Germans on the sheet behind them. The Canadians beat the US team this game, and worked their way up to a silver medal. Way to go ladies! :)
In the afternoon, we went to the ill-fated Canada/US hockey game.
Look at all that red! Even though we lost, it was an amazing feeling being in a crowd of 20,000 people, most of whom are cheering for the same team! :)
Here's a shot of the Olympic Cauldron, which caused much controversy in Vancouver - they didn't want anyone attacking it, so they surrounded it by a fence. But not a nice fence, just an plain ugly chain link fence that looked like it belonged around a prison.
On Tuesday, we headed up to Cypress Mountain to see the women's skicross. If you've never seen it before, its a little like motorcross racing mixed with skiing - four skiiers race down a course of turns, jumps, and rolly bits, and the fastest times win. Its really fun to watch!
After you catch a bus to the top to Cypress, you had to walk about 2km to the base of the ski hills, and then walk up the path to the viewing stadium. Which is that giant blue and green structure behind me....
Here's a view of the staircase:
And once you go in those doorways, there's another long flight of stairs to climb. The only good thing about it was that the long climb warmed you up so you didn't freeze in the cold weather! :)
Here's a shot of one of the early runs - at first, everyone does a run by themselves, to get the time standings. Then they start sending them down four at a time, with the top two advancing to the next round.
As you can see from this photo, the weather had become very cold and snowy throughout the day... so we got home as quick as we could, warmed up, packed, watched the Canada vs. Germany hockey game, and then headed off to the airport...
where I took a stab at a new career path, in case this academic thing doesn't work out! :)
I think these things work a little better when there's more people to push them!
Oooo, look at that! Finished the post just in time to watch the closing ceremonies! Better run! :)