One of the various random encounters during the Olympics was of 2 Olympic silver medal winning Ice Dance competitors who arent each others partners. Random.
Charlie White, the silver medal winner (with his partner Meryl Davis) at the 2010 Olympics in Ice Dance was seen out & about with another Olympic Ice Dance competitor, and former Olympic silver medalist in the same sport, Tanith Belbin (a Canadian who is competing for the U.S.A. & sporting their flag on her cheek....Shame on you Ms.Belbin tsk tsk tsk).
The couple were spotted strolling thru the courtyard near where the Olympic Village entrance/exit was. They clearly were in a hurry, as they speed walked thru a throng of unaware people on their way to their destination. That destination, a U.S.A. hockey game.
Even though clearly in a hurry, the couple stopped long enough to sign a handful of autographs (although Charlie was pretty impatient once the requests seemed to run out for his autograph) on their way to the event.
Charlie White was nice, although a bit impatient. Perhaps being a former hockey player himself, he was more eager to get to the game. Tanith Belbin was incredibly nice, perhaps to a fault as she signed severla photos for 1 person, then several more for the next, all while her boyfriend tried to encourage her to get going.
If you live under a rock, you might not have heard. But Team Canada won the Gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver in Hockey....TWICE.
See, both our teams won. The womens team doing it the evening of February 25th in a spectacular 2-0 victory over their arch nemesis from the U.S.A. While the men matched the feat in even more dramatic fashion the afternoon of the 28th defeating the same country as the women did, in Overtime off the stick of Sidney Crosby.
No surprise to anyone, both squads celebrated heavily. The teams were rewarded with large bottles of Molson Canadian.
The womens team opted to celebrate inside Molson House for a couple hours after arriving from their on ice celebrating. They then took the party off the grounds to a local bar (Metropole) that 3/4 of the team went to on foot thru the streets of the downtown eastside lead by musician Tyler Stewart of The Barenaked Ladies like some pied piper. Constantly stopping to make sure the rest of the crew caught up, Stewart lead teammates, staff, friends & others on a 6 or 7 block walk from the Molson house to the bar. They partied there till after I left at 3:30 AM.
Then mens team had a more random & scattered celebration. Many members of the team with family opted to go celebrate privately with them, while others stayed in Molson House till late in the evening. Others left the Molson house to go celebrate other places, namely the Roxy night club where several members of the team & their friends were seen celebrating till closing.
Of course, free drinks wasnt all these athletes were given. Large shiny keepsakes were also awarded to them, and most sported them proudly as they returned & left the Molson House. Below is a few pics of them & their brand new Gold medals.
PS- to a certain member of 1 of our teams who was concerned on where & how the photo was going to be used....see, this is the only place you are seeing this photo...like I told you (unless someone re-posts it with my tag still on it).
I am still recovering, more than 48 hours after the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC, Canada ended. My body still aches a litt. My feet no longer hurt at least. I still need more sleep. Compared to how I felt 24 hrs after the Olympics ended, this is a massive upgrade. My body was completely running on empty, my feet were in considerable pain & I was just waking up from my first sleep since the games had officially ended.
Yet, a part of me wishes it was still going on. The city was incredible for the past couple weeks and the athletic competition in this town will never be matched again.
Of course, I am just as thankful its over. For me, it wasnt just 17 days long. Its been 17 days of hounding competitions, a week of hounding competitors coming into town before that, weeks of getting prepared before the Olympics before that & years of impatient waiting for this to get here before that. Its literally eaten up the better part of this decade in my life.
For me, the joy of it all was balanced out with stress, annoyance & pain. I had fun at times, but other times I loathed the games existence. For each moment of celebrating a Canadian victory, or meeting a new cool athlete, or chatting with people I havent seen in awhile, or ever before, there was the nuisances.
-Like not being able to eat at my favorite places because of the line ups & inflated menu prices for the Olympic cash grab competition.
-There was the absolutely brutal translink service, who if transportation was an Olympic event, would get a DNF.
-There was the overzealous volunteers & security guards who think their title as "Olympic volunteers" gave them a legal right to put their hands on me & tell me what to do. Some of them should have been choked till their faces were as blue as the jackets they were given. Somehow, I controlled myself enough to not do this even once. Several occasions I gave a variety of choice words, and even more often I just simply waved my hand at them like "go away you unimportant gnat" & did what I wanted anyways.
These things, were not part of the enjoyable Olympic experience that was supposed to be had. Neither was having SIX wannabe Mounties in VPD jackets telling several people they werent allowed to stand in a PUBLIC PLACE with no reason while they sat on horses that probably were more competent than the mountie school rejects riding them. The kicker for me had to be when 3 cops (not a single one being from Vancouver) came up to me at Brittania Ice Rink & told me I couldnt touch THE FENCE!!!! Yes, thats right, the....fucking....FENCE. Not just any fence either, the 3rd outer layer of fencing. Thats right, they had THREE FENCES. I was told the fence had a sensor on it that detected I had touched it...and it took THREE TAX PAYER PAID ARMED COPS to tell me not to touch the 3rd outer layer of fencing at a damn practice rink. Yes, this is the Vancouver I was living in for a month.
When I asked them why I couldnt touch the 3rd outer layer of a fence that was keeping me about 50-100 feet from the athletes, no word of a lie, one of them (from Calgary, a terrorist threat hotbed obviously, why else would they hire him for such an important job) actually used the reasoning "they blew up a bomb in '96".... which I responded "uhh, yeah. In Atlanta, fucking Georgia 14 years ago". After I stared at him for a minute or so blankly assuming the logic of that comment would eventually sink in he replied that they had to assure things were safe yada yada yada. At that time, I pushed the limits of getting arrested & suggested that if I actually meant to do harm, I could have stabbed several dozen athletes by now downtown. Where was the security there? They really didnt have a reasonable answer for that other than to say "you shouldnt say things like that' which I replied with more blank stares. What were they going to do, arrest me for pointing out logic? Yes, the overkill of police were keeping the state of the art.....err.....uhh...33 year old arena with seating for maybe 300 people under 24/7 watch behind 3 layers of fencing. Why? Because a public park in 1996 had a bomb go off. Maybe you shoulda had the security at one of the dozens of public gathering areas instead then? Might have seemed like a better use of at least 1 or 2 of those fences....certainly a better use of some of the no less than 11 cops I counted there. Priorities at these games were to say the least, ass backwards. Ok, I am ranting a bit here...back on track.
From an autographing standpoint, it was so-so. Some wonderful times, some downright dreadful times. The weather, which in Vancouver in February usually consists of rain, or showers, or a light drizzle had a shockingly large amount of SUNSHINE thru the early part of it & the end.
My favorite autographing ventures were
-Getting various athletes coming in at the airport upon arrivals, like Lindsey Vonn, Team Canada womens hockey team & Alex Ovechkin.
-Getting Team Canada mens & womens team multiple times at Hockey House,
-Snagging Peter Forsberg almost daily.
-Getting to go for a few of the other womens hockey teams.
-Of course, last but not least, getting Stephen Colbert during the Colbert Report filmings.
My least favorite moments.
-Constantly missing people by a few minutes.
-No cover outside the athletes village when it rained,
-Anything to do with Team Canada staff members
-Anything to do with Alex Radulov or Jaromir Jagr, who both were downright jerks here, including Radulov threatening to kill one out of town hound after their last loss.
My favorite non-hounding memories clearly include
-Watching the Team Canada mens & womens hockey team win their Gold medals in our building. I watched the womens game in a McDonalds restaraunt since all the bars were full nearby, while I managed (after getting up really damn early) to get a spot at a bar downtown to watch the mens game, just 1 block from the arena.
-Being at the Finland Bronze medal womens hockey win over Sweden.
-Being invited by someone to go into the Team Canada womens celebration party (actually declined for multiple reasons..mostly my feet were in considerable discomfort),
-Chatting with different athletes & staff & hearing them continually say how much they liked the city...
-And of course, getting to see a bit of The Colbert Report.
My least enjoyable non-hounding parts of it.
-My feet. They hurt a LOT the last few days. Had to buy new insoles for my shoes once, they last two days before hurting again. I had worn thru the heel part that quick.
-The lack of sleep. The last week or so of the games, I was finally getting some normal sleep, but at the cost of not hounding the mornings.
-The frustration of having to go to C over to L, across to E, over to Q, down to F, thru to X just to get from point A to point B. Nothing was ever a simple straight logical line.
-The continual "can I help you" people. There ware FAR too many people doing this job. Easily 10 times a day someone would ask me if they could help me...at a place I have been a thousand times before. Maybe just ask people if they truly look lost next time. I applaud your enthusiasm for trying to help, but more often than not, you were a nuisance to regulars.
In the end, it was an adventure that despite the negative points I am glad to have witnessed & been a part of. Nothing else I have ever done, nor will ever do again was as incredible, demanding, challenging & interesting as this. Going for the Canucks in a couple weeks will seem quite dull in comparison.
I will come up with a best & worst list for the Olympics soon. once I have compiled all the data I can, sorted it & have time to post it.
The day the majority of athletes left, there was not a lot of sightings since they had a special terminal set up for athletes to be hurried thru to their flights.
Most athletes used the VIP treatment to avoid the excessively long lines most others had to endure. But not all did.
One of those who came thru the terminal was Canadian skeleton Olympic Gold Medal winner, Jon Montgomery.
Like most of you, I had no idea who Jon Montgomery was before the games. But after his victory & more notably, his celebeation thru the streets of Whistler with a pitcher of beer in hand, I became aware of him.
When he came into the terminal he was rocking a pair of shades, so I wasnt sure if he would be cool or high on himself. Turns out, he was quite cool. he happily signed multiple items, and chatted breifly with us about his win & his celebration.
Afterwards, he was approached by a mom & daughter. The mom asked if her daughter could get a photo with him, he happily oliged & asked the girl if she wanted to touch his medal. She nodded in approval & he let her hold it, which she replied with an awestruck "wow" as he smiled on.
After he was done posing with the girl, I asked him if he could show us the medal, he did & then went on his way.
Congratulations Jon Montgomery. You deserve it.