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.
Team Canada womens and mens hockey teams party it up after winning Olympic Gold...and sport their medals.
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).
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.
One of the cool things about the Olympics is that you will meet people & at the time not realize how big of a deal it is till later on.
I have probably seen dozens of athletes pass me, unaware that they are something big in their country, or their sport. Funny enough, it happened to me with Canadians.
Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir won the 2010 Winter Olympics gold medals in Ice Dancing. Clearly a sport I dont follow & have no idea how its scored. But I knew by the attention the pair recieved upon arriving in Vancouver they must be special.
I watched them get interviewed & sign autographs afterwards, and these two youngsters (Virtue 20, Moir 22) were happy to sign & were pleasant in their interviews. Even with the Team Canada personnel squawking at them to get going, the pair graciously signed until nothing was left for them to sign.
When I heard they had won the Gold, I instantly thought "good for them, they deserve it". Even though I know nothing about their competition, I know they are good people. So to me, they deserve the success.
I didnt at the time think of doing a blog on them, because frankly, I didnt know much about them. But now that they have won, I felt I should at least post a few of the pics I got of them that day for you all to enjoy.
Stephen Colbert brings The Report to Vancouver during the Olympics. I see a podium finish for him in the sports of autograph signing & public relations.
Last week, talk show/comedian host Stephen Colbert brought his incredibly popular show, "The Colbert Report" to Vancouver, BC during the 2010 Winter Olympics.
His shows were set up after a minor scuffle broke out between Colbert, and the people of BC over his reference to Canadians as "syrup suckers" & "ice holes" on his program when he was trashing us for not letting the U.S. Speed Skating team (which Colbert is a major sponsor of, with the help of his fans known as "Colbert Nation" thru a donation campaign) have ample time to practice on the new Richmond Oval rink prior to the Olympics.
Stephen set up an impromptu stage in the middle of Creekside Park, just off to the side of Science World (currently Sochi World for the Olympics) & did segments for several shows (airing this week in Canada on CTV & The Comedy Network. As well in the U.S. on Comedy Central) infront of an often rabid audience of 4 to 6 thousand fans & onlookers.
I of course am a huge fan of his show, unfortunately I saw very little of the performances because it did directly interfere with my work. I did catch a few minutes at the end of his first day & listened to most of his 2nd day opening. But for the first part, the episodes airing this week are all but a mystery to me since I didnt really get to see them, but I certainly did hound them.
The first day Mr. Colbert showed up at about 10:15 AM, being driven in a tinted out minivan. Security drove him up as close to the walkway they had constructed as they could. Still being 50 or so feet away, Colbert had to walk thru a swarm of fans, overzealous security & of course 5-8 autograph hounds. Not once did Stephen seem bothered by the near mob like situation, happily signing & walking, signing some more, walking some more. He was clearly a class act. Once inside he stayed in a tented off area to rehearse his lines & then came out to do his shows. Next time I would see him would be after the show when I returned looking for more.
After the show he was hurried thru by the security, but did sign 2 autographs along the rail of the pathway they had created. Both were for hounds, 1 of them being for me. I was pleased with my opening day totals of 3.
Next day I returned with fresh new photos from the day before performance. I was pretty hopeful to strike Colbert hounding Gold again. But this time he didnt sign before his show. Instead hurrying right in & going to his tent. He then went to the stage & did his opening performance. When he came off in between performances, I noticed the wooden plank type set up they had constructed behind the stage so that he didnt have to walk in the swamp like mosh pit the park had become. It mainly was a few feet away from the fence, except right in the corner I was in, where it bottlenecked. So I had hope I might get his attention coming back. Sure enough, he walked out of the tent to go do his next bit, I asked him to sign, and he did it without hesitation, then hurried off to the stage.
A little later he did the same thing, going to his tent & upon his return came right back to the spot where I was standing. Now more people were eager to try & get an autograph from him. The attention getter of the group, a fan who asked Stephen to sign an actual baby. Stephen smiled & replied in partial laughter "I cant sign a baby" as he chuckled for a second or two afterwards to the suggestion. He willingly did signin 3-4 autographs for the people there, including me again, then proceeded to do his show.
After his show was over, he did a massive impromptu autograph session all the way around the stage side, along the back & out the walk way. I got 2 more in this massive scrum. I was pretty pleased with the final numbers, 7 Colbert autographs over 2 days.
Stephen Colbert will certainly be a medalist at the 2010 Winter Olympics, in the sports of autograph signing & good public relations.
So far since the Olympic athletes have been arriving, its been a slim trickle of identifiable faces & a lot of "I think they might be an athlete" blank stares from us.
But Sunday, the party really started up for the majority of the hounds. A group of generally 5-8 of us that had been out all week for other athletes, were suddenly dwarfed by the never less than 15 and as many as 70 fans, lookie-loos & just arriving hounds from other locales. They were all there because the glut of NHL players were coming for the Olympic games came thru Vancouver's YVR airport.
The media was there. There was lots of Canadian, American, Swedish, Finnish & even a couple Asian media personnel around.
Things really started for us, Saturday late night when Peter Forsberg & various other European based Team Sweden players & the Belarus team came in. Foppa was an incredibly willing signer, very talkative & quite personable. For those hounds (myself not being 1, I was on a different mission at the time) that were there from the time he got into the publics sight, reports of 5 & 6 autographs per person were boasted. Even for my friends & I, who showed up to the party very late (literaly as he was heading out the door to the security area that you cant get them in) we managed 2 each. It was then off to rest up for Sunday.
Sunday morning I slept in, and missed a terrific signing session by Finnish star Miikka Kiprusoff. One of the locals pulled 10 items out of the scrum. Team Canada superstar Jarome Iginla was less receptive to signing and did maybe 10 total from all reports I heard for the crowd of about 20 people at the time. Jeff Carter, who came as a hopeful replacement signed for the hounds before getting the punt by Team Canada the next day.
By the time I arrived in the early afternoon more than a dozen players had come thru, some signing, some being rushed thru the protected Olympics only doors to awaiting vehicles well away from the public. When I arrived everyone was getting prepped for Alex Ovechkin, probably the greatest hockey player there is currently playing. A couple guys came out before him like Thomas Greiss & Joe Pavelski from the Sharks, then came the Washington Capitals posse. Nick Backstrom came over and signed quite a few, most people leaving with more than 1 item, while the other Alex, Alexander Semin ignored the crowd, along with Semyon Varlamov. Alex Ovechkin however did sign, barely. A crowd of 50 or so waiting fans & lookie-loos anxiously begged him to sign, and he scribbled his rushed minimal effort autograph on 4-5 items, I was lucky enough to get one. Sure it looks like crap, but I still value a BAD Ovi at $50. Which last time I looked is better than NO Ovi at $0
After that scrum we hurried over to the domestic arrivals to grab a flight with a couple Bruins on it. David Krejci, who signed only 1 per person got the crowd of 20-30 people warmed up. Then Patrice Bergeron, Team Canada member, came thru & the crowd seemed to double out of nowhere. I was watching for Marco Sturm who saw the crowd swarm his NHL team mate & he took the chance to try & leave. I went over for him & got 2, only 2 other people got him before he slipped out the door. As I got him I jokingly said "waited for Patrice to go before you made your move eh?" which he replied with a smirk "hehe, yeah". The crowd around Patrice was so thick I had time to get over to him & snag an autograph before he was rushed out by security & overzealous volunteers who pushed people around. It then was noted Eric Staal was trying to sneak away as well, but was nabbed by a few from the crowd before his handler declared he was done & shooed him away.
A couple small scrums for guys like Dan Boyle for Team Canada and Jonathan Quick for Team USA filled the dull hours in between, but for the mostpart, the mid-evening was slow.
Reports that Martin Brodeur & other Devils had slipped in nearly undetected surfaced which was met with disappointment by some & acceptance by others more experienced in hounding large events where you understand you cant be everywhere at once.
Next was Pavel Datsuk who was greeted by a pile of collectors, dealers & fans on the international side. Myself & a couple others who were late in reacting only got 1, while most got 2 or 3. While the crowd followed him outside hoping to crack him on signing again, we noticed other players coming out in the security area. We rushed over to the fence, which for some reason had been moved up maybe 75-100 feet on Sunday, making access to them more possible. Valtteri Filppula and others came out, came over to do interviews for Finnish TV & then signed willingly. I got 4 from Valtteri, before collecting my things & moving on to look for more. A handful of other Finnish guys including Joni Pitkanen, Jere Lehtinen & Tuomo Ruutu also came in around that time as well. My luck wasnt as good with them. Mainly because looking for items when your carrying 1500+ items can be time consuming. It certainly cost me more than a few times. Pitkanen & Lehtinen both signed but I didnt have the time to get into my stuff, get back into the moshpit of hounds & get them.
A series of bad decisions lead to me being shut out for a couple hours, even with players coming in. I chose to sit on Russian goalie Evgeni Nabokov for awhile thinking with only a couple of us still waiting, he would surely sign. But after 45 mins of him sitting talking to a fairly fat puckbunny, he ignored all autograph requests & left. While I was there getting kicked in the balls by Nabby, Team Anaheim came in (minus the Canadian guys). Selanne signed a few, Koivu signed some & the others got away either without being asked, or with Team USA personnel wooshing them thru the crowd.
A late night flight with a handful of Boston Bruins came in & I thought afterwards my luck was turning around....but I again made a foolish choice it seemed. I got in & nabbed 3 Zdeno Chara autographs, 2 Tim Thomas along with 2 Miroslav Satan autographs. Generally getting 5 autographs from the most recent major trophy winners liek Chara (Norris) & Thomas (Vezina) would seem like a great score, but they came at the price of missing more Red Wings players in Lidstrom & Zetterberg. At least I got SOMETHING this time, but I still felt a bit disappointed that the 2 Miro Satan autographs I waited an extra 5-8 mins to get might have cost me the 2 Wings stars.
There was 1 final group of the night. A large group that included a lot fo east coast guys. On the flight were New York Rangers stars Henrik Lundqvist & Marian Gaborik. Along with New York Islanders Swiss star Mark Streit, a few other various guys from the Tampa Lightning & other Rangers All in all, about 8 to 10 players. I came out of the whole debacle with 2 Marian Gaborik autographs and 2 Mark Streit autographs. Most of them didnt even come over, and Lundqvist signed maybe 4 autographs for the 20 or so people waiting at 1 AM before walking back to the vehicle that was picking him up & leaving.
That was the end of the NHL arrival main day. A small handful of guys arrived early Monday morning, most notably Daniel Alfredsson. He signed willingly for the fans that went out.
A lot of the Canadian Olympians did not come thru because private charters were picking them up at meeting locations & taking them in to our smaller airport in Abbotsford (about an hour away) along with a few other non-Canadian Olympic team guys. With no decent access, and lots of uncertainty on who exactly would be on them, we never took the gamble to head out there..which probably was for the best, but we'll never know. With a star studded line up that came thru including the likes of Crosby, Fleury, Malkin, Getzlaf, Perry, Kane, Toews, Seabrook, Keith, Nash and many more on them, it might have been worth the gamble to go out & try. But the uncertainty deterred anyone from trying.
For someone that is just barely 19 years old, Patrick Chan sure knows how to handle himself under pressure.
A World skating championship silver medalist in 2009, Chan has 3 Canadian championships already under his belt. After meeting him, I can see why. He exudes incredible confidence.
He showed up to YVR for the 2010 Winter Olympics with a throng of media there that might have been second to none for a solo athlete yet. Approximately 20 media members from television, radio & print were there waiting, and Patrick gave them what they were looking for. He spoke candidly & confidently. Suggesting a gold was a realistic goal if he just skated his program cleanly. Hard to believe the way he managed himself he was only 19.
When the media scrum was over, myself and several other autograph hounds & fans asked him to sign autographs, which he did quite willingly. However, his fire breathing baren spinster handler with him (a common theme with Team Canada staff of all sports it seems) violently squawked at him to only sign one & constantly was saying "you already got one" to myself & others. Patrick himself did not seem concerned by the autograph requests, which is the frustrating part. When nobody volunteers decide they are going to save the world by preventing autographs from being signed. Good work squawking troll, the world is a safer place now because of you.
In any case, he was quite accomodating & personable. Certainly gave me the impression that the pressure that likely is on him to perform here in Vancouver will not get to him.
I have hounded a lot of sports, and people from a lot of countries. The other night, I obtained my first ever luge autograph, and my first ever autograph from someone born in India. I did both at the exact same time.
Indian luger Shiva Keshavan came thru & a small pile of media were eager to greet him, get some photos & interviews. Not knowing anything about his sport, or him, I was fascinated by the excitement of the mainly south Asian reporters who were even getting posed pictures with him afterwards.
I got him to to sign a couple Olympics postcards, just to say I got him, then went on my way looking for more athletes. I came back a few minutes later & saw he was still there, so I took the chance to snap a few pics of him before I left.
Afterwards I was more amazed to hear about the incredible journey recently for Keshevan (whose full name on the Olympic site is Shiva Keshevan Kannan Palan) just getting here. Just weeks ago he fractured a vertebrae in his back (as someone who fractured multiple vertebrae himself when he was younger, I know what an ordeal that can be) & was told by the doctors "dont race", but he told them this is what he had worked for the 4 years & was not going to miss it for anything. So he came, with a new sled as well. Another hurdle he overcame to get here was breaking his last sled recently. But thanks to the help of a few lawyers from his homeland who pooled the money together to get a new one for Shiva, he is in Vancouver & ready to compete. One of only 3 Olympians representing India at the 2010 Winter Olympic games, Shiva has been to the Olympics several times now. First competing in Nagano during the 1998 games, he was only 16 years old at the time.
I am sure at the end of the games, I will look back & think of Shiva Keshevan when people ask me if I got anyone interesting during the Olympics, because I am pretty confident I will never get an Indian luger autograph again.
On Tuesday the city of Vancouver had one of the biggest names in the winter sports world arrive, Lindsey Vonn, the supermodel looking superskiing star from the U.S. arrived to a throng of media, fans & autograph collectors all hoping for a moment of her time.
While Ms. Vonn was extremely classy is taking the time to sign autographs, much to the detest & constant pleading of her handlers not to, I found it interesting that she did not take much time to talk with the media themselves. Perhaps she found them to be too aggressive, as it was noted by multiple people there that the NBC team were physically pushing & pulling fans & other media members out fo the way to try & get their own shot. If I were Ms. Vonn, I too would have evaded any talk time with the American Olympic broadcaster.
Today it came out that Lindsey is suffering from a serious shin bruise & her Olympics is even in jeopardy because of it. perhaps this was part of what prevented her from wanting to stand around & do interviews?
What was clear from this breif encounter with her is that she was all class with the fans & autograph collectors there. Not leaving a single request hanging for a signature on any item, including brand new fresh off the shelf Sports Illustrated swimsuit poses.
So far these Olympics I have seen many athletes, most of which have been complete class, but Ms. Vonn really won me over considering the demand on her time, the insistence of signing despite her staff telling her not to sign & even physically pushing autograph collectors away from the 4 ft high glass rail securely seperating them from Ms. Vonn anyways. When you add that up with the injury shes working thru & the pressures of being expected to perform up here for the Winter Olympics, she really is a class act.
I hope for the sake of the Olympics & Lindsey, she can go in her events. The staff that Team USA employs, the station broadcasting the games for Americans might all be full of asses, but at least the athletes are still class acts.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.