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Day 19 and 20 great dancing and free short track!!

February 22, 2010

What a couple of days its been! Apologies for not blogging but its been a great couple of days!!

The day before yesterday started with practices for the Original Dance. I found it interesting that the Russians (who have very controversial Original Dance costumes) chose to practice their Free Dance while most of the other teams were practicing Original Dance. When it was all said and done no one saw the Russians Original Dance costumes until they actually performed their OD. More on that later.

I have to say that Tess and Scott look so strong. They are having very focused, disciplined practices and have really been able to deliver. They are looking so strong. I have really been enjoying the dance practices for the Original Dance because they are such cool programs.

This was also the first chance that I’ve had to see quite a few of the women. The Americans, Rachel and Mirai (particularly Mirai) are looking so strong. This was the second practice that I’ve seen Joannie Rochette as well, and she was dynamite. This practice was on Saturday which was the day before tragically, her mother passed away from a heart attack, and its such a shame that this has happened to her because this is her Olympics. She still has a tremendous opportunity to shine, but I cannot imagine what she is going through. Remarkably, she skated yesterday after she was given the devastating news which I just cannot imagine. Cynthia was not present at the practice. Also in attendance for the first time was Yu-Na Kim, and she had a pretty quiet practice. I imagine that she’s been ramping up hr practices since.

Then, I got the most exciting news EVER!!! I was given a free ticket to the short track speed skating that night! We had some time to kill so a colleague of mine, Peggy and I went for a bite to eat at a pub that’s close to the Coliseum, then we went on a flag expedition before we found our seats for the short track. They were great seats! High, but right in the centre so we got to see all the action. There were two races that night; womens’ 1500m and mens’ 1000m. Our women’s favorite Kalyna Roberge slipped in the semi finals so it was all up to our other Canadian Tania Vicent to have our hopes for a medal. It was a shame that Kalyna didn’t make it through because she was a favorite for a medal. It was a loaded womens’ final because there ended up being 8 people in the final as opposed to 6 due to advances. Unfortunately our Canadian just couldn’t keep up and she finished 8th.

The big excitement for the night was when both Charles and Francois Hamelin made it into the Mens’ final. The odds should have been our favor, we had a 2 in 5 chance! However, it was a start studded field. Two Koreans and Apolo Ohno. It was a very exciting final with lots of passing and excitement. Unfortunately our Canadians just used too much gas from the start and came up short with 4th and 5th. It was pretty disappointing given how hard they worked to get into the final. It was a great crowd though, and it was sooooo exciting to hear the crowd go wild for the Canadians!!

The one cool thing about the night was the cameraman on the ice. Betcha didn’t know that there even was one! He dresses up all in white, and its quite amazing that when the outside cameras go past him that you really can’t see him! They call him the snowman and I thought that that was sooo cool!

Then came yesterday and what a day it was! I arrived in time to catch the tail end of the womens’ practice. It was so amazing that Joannie Rochette skated yesterday because of her tragedy, but I suppose its good that she has something to focus her attention on while she is going through that. We’ve been able to keep her away from the media which has been good. I can’t imagine what she is going through.

It was then time for the Original Dance and what a night it was! Our first Canadian team didn’t fare very well. They lost a couple of places last night because they had a couple of bobbles here and there. The American team of Emily Samuelsonn and Evan Bates were able to gain a little bit of momentum with their crowd pleasing country western number and were able to gain a couple of places, and I was really happy for them. The top teams didn’t disappoint, but man has the top 5 really seperated themselves from the rest of the competition.

A huge suprise to everyone was that the Russian team didn’t change their controversial Original Dance outfits. They were toned down, but not  by much. They still looked awful and pretty disrespectful if you ask me. Luckily, their program was just as bad as their costumes so they plummeted down to 3rd. I have to say that I’m not a huge fan of their free dance either so it’d be pretty nice if they also tanked on that. She is really tall and it makes for their moves to look quite awkward. In case you haven’t been able to tell, I am not a fan.  I am really rooting for the other American team, Meryl Davis and Charlie White to finish behind Tess and Scott. They will give Tess and Scott a run for their money, but Tess and Scott have a three point lead, and I don’t think that they are going to blow that. They looked so focused, and they skated with so much conviction last night it was unbelievable. The top two teams absolutely CREAMED the competition last night finishing 5 and 6 points ahead of the next best team- which is basically unprecented in dance.

Tess and Scott’s program was electric. Man were they on. Every detail was just bang on and they were fabulous. I hope that they are able to skate as well tonite as they did last night. If so, then they are going to be very very tough to beat. Be sure to watch tonite… The programs are so innovative and its going to be a great competition.

Two other things before I sign off and head to the rink for the Free Dance. First, I have not been able to get a shot of the billboard with all of our medals on it. Mom, Dad, Helly and Peter went to see it today and they got a pic, so if I can’t get one I’ll pawn a pic off Peter, but I’ll do my best to get there. Also, I’ve read so many commentaries on the internet with people saying, man, I want an Olympic Kleenex box, where can I get one?!? Well, you’ve heard it here first folks- they are just covers on normal Kleenex boxes!!! VANOC has thought of everything!

Below are some pics from the Short Track Speed Skating and the Olympic Kleenex!

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day 17 and 18 excitement, disappointment, pj and GOLD!

February 20, 2010

Yesterday was a marathon day for me at the rink, I was there from 6am until about 10pm, but what a day it was!

The day started out with the men practicing before the big long. It was interesting to see their different strategies leading into the long. What’s interesting is that Evgeni Plushenko had an awful practice. He really struggled with a few of his jumps, and didn’t even stay on the ice for his music. Evan Lysacek just did a simple run through of his program, did every jump twice and then left. Patrick Chan did a FULL run through, which I thought was really strange. He did every element from start to finish and actually had a better skate in the practice then he did for the actual event. The practice definitely made me more excited for the events to come that night!

Next came the ice dance, which I was really excited for because this was the first time that I’ve seen all of the great teams on the ice since so many of them have been training at different rinks in the Vancouver area. Tess and Scott were looking really good, and I was suprised by the Russians. I suppose with all of the controversy with their aboriginal Original Dance its been easy to just dislike them, but I haven’t actually watched them since Worlds last year, and to see them live, I have to admit- they’re good. The one thing that annoys me though (as superficial as it is) is how she wears her hair in a ponytail at the top of her head- it looks ridiculous! I actually really love the compulsory because very quickly you can distinguish the swans from the ducklings. I’m actually really sad that the ISU is getting rid of this portion of the ice dance competition because it really requires you to be good at the fundamentals. The practice was a good precursor for what was to come!

At the end of the practice I had a cool moment. Normally CBC carries the figure skating and Tracey Wilson and Kurt Browning do the commentary when they show it on Prime Time. Typically on Prime Time you only get to see the best skates, and FOR EVER that was the only skating you got to see of events on TV. If you’re any kind of skating fan, this is definitely NOT enough. A cool thing that CBC started doing a couple of years ago, was carry Figure Skating on one of their secondary channels, Bold, and when a skating event is on, they show EVERY skater! The lady who does the commentary for ALL of the skaters is a lady by the name of Pj Kwong, who has actually been in the skating world for a long time. She’s awesome. She keeps a skating blog for the events and take’s people questions on air and really adds a lot of personality to the skating. What some people might not realize is that Pj is also the voice of most skating events in Canada both nationally and internationally. She is the voice that you hear announcing the skaters names before they go on and announcing the skaters’ marks when they are done skating. CBC is obviously not covering the games, so Pj is here in the capacity that probably made her famous in the first place. Yesterday, at the end of the dance I was sitting in our security position that is right where the production team goes onto the stand (which is right above where the judges sit) and when she came off, I recognized her and said Hi to her by name. I think she was excited that I knew who she was and we had a good chat. I knew that my mom would be SOOO excited that I met her because mom watches Bold just as religiously as her tennis (which is saying a lot) when a skating event is on, and she gets a real kick out of Pj. When I told Pj about this, she asked me what my mom’s name was and when I said Darlene, her reply was, “you know I’ve never met a Darlene I didn’t like!” She was also kind enough to let me take a picture with her. What a sweet heart, she totally deserves all of her success. The last thing she told me was that CBC is on for worlds so be sure to catch her next month from Torino on Bold!

Pj Kwong and I

 For the second half of the day, I was just supposed to stick around and help out with the medal ceremonies after the mens program and then the field of play changeover after that. I ended up helping with some dinner coverage with positions and then spending a bunch of time beefing up the security in the athlete lounge given the popularity of the event last night. Let me tell you– you thought it was dramatic watching the events of last night unfold on TV? Try watching it unfold behind the scenes! First of all, there are TVs everywhere, so we get to watch the whole thing, however there is about a 5 second delay. So its really strange watching it unfold backstage because you can hear the cheers or groans after an element before you get to see it. It makes it really hard to watch because you know what happens before you see it!

I’m happy for Patrick Chan, he had a pretty good straight and a 5th place finish at your first Olympics when you’re 19 is nothing to be upset about. I watched an interview today and he did say he was jealous when the medal ceremony was going on, which is a natural reaction, but don’t worry Patrick, your time to shine is still yet to come! It was pretty tough being 5 metres away from him while he sat and watched the last flight wondering if luck was going to go in his direction. His composure was remarkable for such a young kid.

After Evan Lysacek finished skating, he was pretty quick to go through the mixed zone because he wanted to watch the skating. The cameras asked him to stay outside of the lounge so they could film him (the cameras aren’t allowed in the lounge which is why they beefed up security) and he obliged them- i think he knew it was going to be tough to beat his performance. Takahashi had a gutsy performance. He hasn’t landed a SINGLE quad all week, and to throw it in your program knowing that and knowing your within sniffing distance of a medal takes guts, he was going for broke, and I’m glad that he wasn’t left empty handed. My heart BROKE for Nobi Oda. I saw him about a half an hour after all of his events unfolded, and you could tell that he was really upset and disappointed. He is also really young (22) and has another Olympics in him- he could use the time to mature his skating style. I was amazed that he got his skate together as quickly as he did- Wow! Then came Russia. I have to say, the Russian contingent looked tense backstage leading up to his skate. His coaches didn’t crack even an expression on their faces the whole time and they didn’t stop pacing the entire time. It was odd foreshadowing of the events to come. We got word that the Russian contingent was pretty roudy in the ISU lounge upstairs so we were preparing for a crazy party if Evgeni won, and we were all relieved for multiple reasons when he didn’t. I was taken aback by Lori Nichols… As Patrick Chan’s “coach” she was pretty quick to throw on a team USA jacket and share Evan’s limelight. As a choreographer, does she need to be there? She isn’t his coach? Did we see David Wilson sitting with any of his skaters?? I was a little disappointed that she did that because she did it for her benefit only, and I wish that she would have been with Patrick. Thankfully there were a lot of other people with him.

My verdict- it was close, but I think that Evan won because he is the better SKATER. Evgeni is a better jumper, no question, but this is Figure Skating, not Figure Jumping and I think its important that our Olympic Champion is a master of the entire sport, not just one component so I think the result was correct. There has been a lot of controversy and while I know that the media will look for any story they can get, the one person that I’m really disappointed in its Elvis Stojko, who is reporting for Yahoo! Sports. So the first thing I’ll say is that if Yahoo! Sports is the best gig that one of the best skaters in Canadian skating history can get for the Olympics, you can only take his commentary with a grain of salt in my opinion, but his article after last night is pretty inappropriate if you ask me. He hasn’t been all that successful as a coach, and is worse at journalism! This is someone who is a legend in the sport, and he spoke really negatively about it. You can read his article here. According to him, our sport was killed last night, and he claims that by encouraging skaters to skate only elements they are confident in, in order to get execution marks, and to not attempt the more difficult elements has taken the sport backwards. I’m not suprised that this is his stance, jumping was all he really had too. His footwork was alwasy flashy, but I don’t know how difficult it was, and he wasn’t a great spinner. In any case, I think the article is disgusting given his notoriety in Canada. I suppose we all have our opinions.

I was about 10 meters away from Evan when he found out he won, and it was a cool moment. I’m happy for him. Plushenko was actually pretty composed, with his major faltering moment coming when he stepped first onto the Gold medal position on the podium then his spot on the silver. All in all, a pretty exciting night!

I had today off, and used it to be lazy and catch up on sleep! It was an up and down day Olympics wise! First, I watched Kevin Martin THUMP Denmark, then I watched the skating… First, the whole thing on CTV. Can I ask why Jennifer Robinson is commentating Dance? What the heck does she know about dance? I thought Victor Kraatz did a great job of explaining the technical nature of the dances, but I have to say that I’m starting to get disappointed that the CTV commentators aren’t more impartial. According to them, the results of the ice dance (1st- Oksana Domnina/Maxim Shabalin (RUS), 2nd- Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN), 3rd- Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA), 4th- Tanith Belbin/Ben Agosto (USA)) wasn’t right- they thought the Russians were overscored and they were pretty partial about it. While I don’t know that the Russians’ marks should have been quite so high, they did skate a very technically strong dance. They are known for being technicians and it was really good, particularly their nuances (again, I LOVE the compulsory dance because its easy to pick that stuff up). I watched the final flights again on NBC a few hours later, and I don’t know why I didn’t watch it on that channel in the first place. Maybe its because she has more experience, but Tracey Wilson (on loan from CBC) was a HECK of a lot more impartial than her Canadian counterparts and her analysis of the Russians’ skate agreed with my thoughts. They were pretty crisp. THANKFULLY through all of this, our Canadians ended up 2nd with a great skate. Their strength lies in the Free Dance so they should have great things to come. Moving forward, really look out for Davis and White from the US… The compulsory is their weakest segment, and they tend to catapult themselves over the competition after the Original Dance.

While I was watching NBC, they interviewed Evan Lysacek with Scott Hamilton and Dick Button. I was really impressed with how he is carrying himself, and his approach to the things that have gone on this week. I repeat my sentiments that he deserved to win.

While all of this was happening, there was much celebration and disappointment on the Skeleton track. A BIG congratulations to Jon Montgomery for his gold medal in Men’s skeleton, and my heart really broke for Melissa Hollingsworth who was really on her way to another Olympic medal until she had a really tough last run. Really a shame, and I was sad for her 😦

I didn’t get a shot of the billboard on Hastings last night because it was late, but I’m going to really try tomorrow afternoon- especially since its going to have another Gold Medal hanging on it tomorrow!!!

I finished the night watching Cheryl Bernard (barely) beat Denmark in the curling. This is one event I wish I could go see live, and I’m going to try this week and see what I can do… The Canadians are doing so great… I’m really proud of them! Cheryl’s game was a little too close for comfort but it was still fun to watch!

Tomorrow is reportedly the first practice that Yu-Na Kim, the favorite for women’s Gold, will have in Vancouver. She was apparently greeted by over 300 reporters at the airport. We’re going to have to be on our game because the asian media goes NUTS for her and will likely be out in droves to see her. So, I better get to bed!

Tomorrow is also going to be exciting because my Mom and Dad and Helen and Peter (I’m staying at their condo) are arriving for the last week of the Olympics! It’ll be fun to have people to cheer with!

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day 16 tidbits and still reeling!

February 18, 2010

Today, I am definitely still on the high from last night. Words cannot express how excited I am for tomorrow night’s men’s long. It is going to be quite the show! I will let you know if I get to be rinkside again! Speaking of which- turns out I was famous for about 5 milliseconds last night! Several people mentioned that they saw me! It would have been quick but still uber cool!  

 

Don't I look like a professional?

This morning was ladies practice. More and more of them are showing up, so its starting to get very exciting at Coliseum. I was fortunate enough to be in a position with full view of the ice for a star studded flight- our Canadians, Joannie Rochette and Cynthia Phaneuf, Finns Kiira Korpi and Laura Lepisto and Swiss skater Sarah Meier. It was a great flight and the ladies look strong- especially ours. Cynthia Phaneuf did a full run through attempting everything and she NAILED everything. I’m not just talking about landing her jumps, I’m talking about landing them with some serious finesse. I didn’t see Joannie miss anything either (she just did a simple run through of her program) but man is she pretty to watch. Wow. Her technique is impeccable, and she is just on. I’m so excited for these girls and I hope that they have great skates! 

Since this morning was quiet, I was able to get some shots of me in action! I took a picture of myself where I was standing to watch the flight of Women, and then Jackie (who is the events coordinator for Skate Canada) was nice enough to take a picture of me in the Kiss and Cry!  

In the Kiss and Cry!

 Because I only saw one flight of women, that’s about as exciting as my post gets, so I thought that today I would post some tidbits that I’ve been collecting throughout the last couple of days.    

 

Go Emily Go!

  

 

First, since this is the first day of her final Olympics, I wanted to post a good shot of the giant picture of Emily Brydon on the side of the Bay building downtown! While she only finished 16th in her first race today, the downhill isn’t her best event, and I’ll be rooting for her! Go Emily Go! Our hometown hero!

  

Blue Sun Ice Hoodie

On Valentine’s Day, I braved the crowds at the Bay Olympic Superstore to shop for Randy and I. I went last week and got some little stuff, but wanted to get something signfiicant to mark my trip. It ended up that I got the same thing for Randy and I (I emailed him pics from the store, and he liked the same thing as me!) so we’re going to be a little matchy matchy! We settled on these fantastic hoodies that SunIce has made. They are two tone with the coast salish art that has been so prominent at these games and are so nice! I got the two toned blue one, and Randy got the two toned black one. The pics aren’t great because the store was a mad house, but it gives you the idea!   

 

The Sun Ice Hoodies with Coast Salish pattern

As volunteers, we are given thank you gifts every three shifts that we work. The first gift that I got was a very cute “Team 2010” pin. The next gift, I was able to choose between a stuffed Miga or Quatchi. I chose Miga! Yesterday I got the third gift and what a gift it was! It is a sterling silver keychain from Birks! Wow- its beautiful! They actually screwed up and gave me the day 12 gift at first… Thankfully my supervisor let me know that they made a mistake because I would have been sad to miss out on such a beautiful gift! So, I also know that I get a really cute pair of gloves on Day 12 in a couple of days! My supervisor got the day 15 gift today and said it was amazing- he wouldn’t tell me what it was, he wants me to be suprised! I am thankful that I’ll be working enough shifts to get it! Here are some pics of what I’ve gotten so far:  

My Shift 3, 6 and 9 gifts!

My Birks Team 2010 Keychain!

Finally, I noticed one of the last times that I was downtown that Holt Renfrew has just the coolest window displays for the Olympics, and I thought to myself that day about an hour later, man I need to go back and take pics of those for two reasons: 1. They are just too cool! 2. I knew that my friend Evelyn (who used to dress windows for Le Chateau, and is now starting a Wedding and Event Planning business) would absolutely love them too! So I made a point of stopping after my hoodie shopping to take some pics!  

Holts Window Display #1

Holts Window Display #2!

Holts Window Display #3!

Holts Window Display #4

Finally, a big congratulations tonite to Melanie St Gelais who won a Silver Medal in the Ladies 500m Short Track Speed Skating on her birthday!! Actually, one more thing! To get back to the Seabus everyday, I take a bus down Hastings Street. There is a billboard about half of the way down, that has a big red maple leaf on it. Hanging on the maple leaf are medals. At first I thought that it was just supposed to be a leaf with medals on it with no real significance… Yesterday, I remember saying to myself that I thought it was odd that there were two silver medals hanging on the left side of the leaf and then just one gold hanging off the middle, and one bronze hanging off the right prongs of the leaf. It wasn’t until I passed by it again today, now with TWO! gold medals hanging on the middle prong that it dawned on me (hey, us brunettes are allowed to have blonde moments too) that they’ll keep adding medals to the billboard as we win them! I can’t wait to pass by it tomorrow and see a new silver medal hanging on it!!! The bus goes by quickly, but tomorrow I’m going to try to catch a pic! (Heck, I might even get off the bus, take a pic, and then catch the next one!) 

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day 15 WOW WOW WOW!!!

February 17, 2010

Tonite was HANDS DOWN my best night in Vancouver so far! Wow! What a night!

I was able to have a good sleep in this morning and then it was off to the rink for 3:15 for the big event! This was the first time that I had been in the rink for one of the major ticketed events, so I was actually pretty excited! I couldn’t believe how many people were already at the venue when I had arrived!

I had great jobs all night! First, I was stationed right by the door where the athletes go out onto the ice. It was neat seeing all of the athletes warm up and get ready for their skates. Also, it was very cool to see all of their skaters make their entrance into the venue! In my next position which was in the athlete lounge, I was able to see how the skaters stretch, jump, pray and do pretty much everything to prepare! Too cool! My final post before the best post of all was right at the end of the mixed zone, and some pretty interesting things happened here. While I was in this position, both Vaughn Chipeur and Evgeni Plushenko skated. Vaughn didn’t have the best night, but he was truly just happy to be here at the Games which was a really cool attitude. The thing that amazed me the most though was Plushenko in the mixed zone. He yielded basically every question! He is one of those people who typically just blasts through the mixed zone, but tonite he was in there for a very long time! I suppose that has something to do with his incredible skate, but that’s besides the point!

Next, the best part of the night! I was assigned one of our positions inside the Field of Play for the last two groups, and they did not disappoint! Well, a couple of them did, but I was ok with that! I was way down at the complete other end of the rink from the kiss and cry, near the end of the judges stand right by the cameras!

By the time that I had made it out to the Field of Play, Evgeni Plushenko and Daisuke Takahashi had brought down the house and were in 1st and 2nd.  The first skater I got to see was Brian Joubert (FRA). He blew it- BIG TIME! His program was full of botched jumps and to be honest his program was boring! Mostly just crossovers in between his jumps which isn’t all that exciting! He ended up something like 16th, and deserved to be there, because he basically stopped skating with any kind of vindiction after he blew his jumps. Better luck next time! Next, was Takahiko Kozuka. He is very young, but skated very very well. He nailed all of his jumps, and with a little of time and maturity he will be an excellent skater! He ended up in 8th! Next was the Italian, who was nobody to call home about! Then it was time for Patrick Chan!!! The whole place erupted when he stepped out onto the ice! He had a couple bobbles, which he couldn’t afford if he wanted to be on top, but it wasn’t anything disastrous. His worst mistake was that he was slow through his footwork and his last spin and got a 1 point deduction for finishing after his music. But man, seeing him skate from ice level is amazing. What a future Patrick has! Don’t count him out tomorrow. After seeing what happened last night with the pairs, he’s only in 7th it’s anyone’s game really! Then Johnny Weir came- another man who delivered, pink tassel and all! I actually really liked his program and he ended up 6th.

Then came the final flight. In this flight were a couple of Czech skaters who have a lot of promise, Tomas Verner and Michal Brezina. Both have had strong repertoires jump wise and have good ISU world ranks. Tomas Verner made a couple of major mistakes, and althought Michal skated clean, he is a weaker skater and in this field you can’t just skate clean, you have to have the total package. The same went for the skater from Belgium- nothing to call home about even though he skated clean. My heart broke for Jeremy Abbott. He really is a very talented skater. His programs are beautiful, and rival Patrick’s programs with the transitions between elements. He did not have a good night tonight though and bobbled on two of his jumps. He finished in 15th. The man of this flight though was certainly Evan Lysacek. He needed to deliver and he did.  I don’t know if I like how he started celebrating before his program was over because it caused him to bobble a spin a little bit, but he did have a great skate.

So that was that- what an exciting night! The top three- Plushenko (RUS), Lysacek (USA) and Takahashi (JPN) are in a virtual tie. 0.6 seperate the three and that is basically negligible in this new judging system. Oda (JPN) and Lambiel (SWI) are closely trailing 6 points behind, Weir (USA) is 8 points behind, and Patrick is 9 points behind. 9 points is a large deficit for gold considering the field, but really anything can happen. We saw Champions crumble tonight and it can happen again tomorrow. Blow even just ONE element, and you’ve broken that lead of 6-9 points that you just had, let alone the 0.6 lead you had!

So the gold tomorrow night is going to go to the man that skates clean. Whether or not you have a quad, or do fancy transitions, or anything like that, if you don’t do it cleanly, you aren’t going to win! Plushenko looks good- he is going to be tough to beat. I’d like to see Patrick have the skate of his life and get himself on the podium, but we’ll see! In any case, it was quite a night, and I was so excited to have been able to see it right there from rink side! How thrilling!

PS. Another thrilling night for Canada elsewhere! A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Maelle Ricker on winning Canada’s second Gold Medal today in the Snowboard Cross! YAY!!!

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day 14 what a great night!

February 16, 2010

Last night, I was at Trout Lake and didn’t think that I was going to be able to watch the skating. Luckily, due to a quiet night, I was able to watch!

My job last night was gate opening so I was able to stand at rinkside the whole night! First, was ice dance. Both the Canadian and American teams have ice in Port Moody, so none of them were at the practices, which was a little disappointing! However, in attendance, besides more of the obscure teams, was the French team of Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder who were World Champions in 2007/2008. They look strong. The contrast between the good teams and the weaker teams is remarkable! They look really good. An interesting thing to note is that she had a baby in October and looks INCREDIBLE! I can’t believe it!

Present, were Past Canadian Champion Jennifer Robinson and past Canadian and World Champion Victor Kraatz who are both commentating for CTV.

Then it was time for the Men. Present in practice last night was Patrick Chan, Brian Joubert (FRA), Stephane Lambiel (SWI), Johhny Wier (USA), Nobunari Oda (JPN), Daisuke Takahashi (JPN) and Takahiko Kozuka (JPN). All looked strong. A suprise was Adrian Schultheiss from Sweden, whom I’ve never heard of- he was landing quads! Other things to note: Patrick Chan was landing triple axels (which are usually his nemesis) like crazy. He is very relaxed and smiling lots in his practices so he is looking good. Johnny Weir and Stephane Lambiel were both landing quads in practice. Also, I did not know that Johnny Weir knows Russian! I was standing right next to his coach for his entire practice and they spoke Russian the entire time! The other thing about Johnny Weir is that his skate guards are awesome! He has them bejewelled with the Chanel symbol (he’s big into fashion) and his initials. If his coach wasn’t standing right there, I would have totally taken a picture! A little much perhaps, but I thought they were awesome!

We had a bit of a delay last night because one of the skaters made a GIANT hole in the ice right down to cement and we had to wait for a CO2 canister to come from the short track practice rink, so we could flash freeze the slush that we were filling the hole with. The teams were annoyed, but there’s not much we could do! Our ice meister, Kam, is amazing! He’s come all the way from the Olympic Oval in Calgary! One other thing I’ll note is that they are having major issues with the ice machines at the Oval in Richmond. We’ve had similar issues with our machines at PAC, however, we’ve been lucky that they were minor issues and only happened in training, not the real thing! They are flying a Zamboni from the Olympic Oval in Calgary to Richmond, so their problems can be fixed. Even though Olympia is the sponsor and Zamboni isn’t, they don’t have a choice out there in Richmond- they just can’t have any more delays in the middle of competition.

The last session of the night was Ice Dance again, with all of the same teams that were there earlier, coming again, and no different appearances.

Last night was the final night of pairs and what a competition! After having such a clean competition for the short it was anyone’s game with all of the top 5 teams being so close! Both of our Canadian teams had skates plaugued with mistakes, and as such, they finished in 6th and 9th place. Dube and Davison were actually lucky to finish so high considering what they missed on, and that should be encouraging because if they were to nail their skates, they’d be in the mix! Also bobbling were both Russian teams, the Germans (who had to settle for bronze after being favorites for Gold), and the third Chinese pair. Not bobbling were the top two Chinese Pairs. Skate after skate the last two teams brought the house down. The second to last team of Pang and Tong had the skate of their lives and actually won the free skate. Shen and Zhao had one small bobble on one of their lifts but they were just too good in the short and everything else was so good that they easily won the gold medal, and I had chills. I was SOO happy for them! To hear their screams when they realized they had won, was amazing! Such a great night!

I am so excited for tonite and the men’s short. Please be sure to tune in and watch the skating tonite and put all of your positive karma in Patrick Chan’s direction. His program is amazing- definitely worth the watch. I hope that I am writing to you all tonite when I get home with amazing news! Look for me on TV! Also, don’t forget to use my Scoring Guide!

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day 12 and 13 it’s time for our Figure Skaters to shine!

February 15, 2010

Hi Everyone! Well tonite was the night! The first night of figure skating! It was a great night and the pairs competition did not disappoint. At this point there are at least five teams that could take the gold!

Before I summarize tonite, a couple things! First, over in the pages section I’ve posted a page that explains the judging system. I highly recommend printing off at least the very top of this post for watching the skating because it will help you determine if a score is good or not! Also, it’s been a while since I’ve posted, so here’s what I’ve been up to since:

The last couple of days have been mostly filled with pairs action and it has been very exciting. Yesterday was Short Track’s big day with their first day of competition, so we had a couple practice sections yesterday morning (pairs then mens), and then the most important Field of Play Changeover we’ve had yet. We took extra time yesterday to make sure that we set up things nice and perfect for our Sport Counterparts.

Yesterday’s practices went well. Patrick Chan is skating so well. His programs really are spectacular. The Americans and of course the Russian Evgeni Plushenko are looking really strong. Stephane Lambiel, the defending silver medallist from Switzerland had a very shaky practice, but I’m not counting out that he’s going to perform when it counts. Most of the pair practices went really well. At this point, they just do basic run throughs, and typically only practice the main components of their programs when their music wasn’t on.

This morning, we just had pairs run through again and then we did Field of Play Changeover for Short Track Practice that was this morning until our event tonite. Because I was there this morning, I got to stay at home and watch the skating. I was really happy because I managed to find a feed of the entire event showing every single program on one of the higher up SportsNet channels- this was AWESOME!

Right away, what I had predicted came to fruition. The Chinese were the first pair to take to the ice and set an Olympic and World record score with their short program. They are plain and simple going to be tough to beat. Then there was a long three flight wait for the rest of the contenders. Our second team, Anabelle and Cody nailed their skate. They did really well and are sitting in 7th. Jess and Bryce didn’t get their side by sides but because everything else is so strong they are sitting in 6th. The top 5 teams are all teams I knew would be in the mix: 1st- Shen and Xao (China), 2nd- Szolkowy and Savchenko (Germany), 3rd- Kavaguti and Smirnov (Russia), 4th- Pang and Tong (China), 5th- Zhang and Zhang (China). I didn’t realize that Kavaguti and Smirnov were so strong. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched them, and they have come a very long way. I was actually quite impressed! The Germans were excellent! They had a more difficult program, but their execution wasn’t as good so they are sitting in Second. All in all, I am happy with the judging, everyone is exactly where they should be… The new system is working!

Less than 5 points seperate 1st from 5th place. This is less than one element. At this point it’s anyone’s game, and I just can’t believe how close it is with the top 5 teams. To have 5 teams over 70 points after the short is out of this world! I am happy to see our pairs in 6th and 7th, this is really great for them, and the teams that are above them are all so tough to beat. It would have been nice to see them in there in the mix, and anything could happen, so wish them well tomorrow!!! Tomorrow night unfortunately  I work until midnight, so I’ll only get to watch highlights (unless I catch it at the rink!) but I highly recommend you all tune in because it’s going to be amazing! First medals are awarded tomorrow, and they will be handed out right at the venue- you won’t have to wait to see the BC Place ceremony!

Check out SportsNet at 5pm Pacific Time as they showed ALL of the skating on that channel today! What a great night of Olympic Figure Skating!!

Finally, CONGRATULATIONS TO ALEXANDRE BILODEAU!!! I am so happy for the first Canadian to win on home soil. What a great time to be a Canadian!! Also, we’re two days in and have 3 medals… What a great start! Congratulations to Jenn Heil and Christina Groves- our two other medallists so far!

Best of luck tomorrow to Manual Osborne-Paradis in the Men’s Downhill, Jeremy Wotherspoon in the Men’s 500m Speed Skating, our Women’s Hockey Team, our Women and Men Cross-Country Skiers, and our Mens Snow Board Cross Racers in addition to our two Pairs Figure Skating Teams!

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day eleven one more short post

February 13, 2010
Well the spectacle is over and the Games have begun! I am still sad about the days events, however, the Opening Ceremonies were a great way I think for everyone to cheer up. My favorite parts include: the snowboarder through the rings, the whales on the stage, the fiddle section, kd lang’s performance, the four man cauldron lighting and of course the bravery of the Georgian team. What a night! I could even see the fireworks on the waterfront from the condo!
Just wanted to let you all know that I have created a new page to the right in the Pages section, all about Figure Skating in an effort to get you all prepped for our events which start on Sunday with the Pairs short. I have reposted my previous article about our Canadian team, and tonite I added a list of International skating stars to look out for. Tomorrow I will try to post an article about the judging system so that you all can figure out what those scores that the judges are giving means!

I look forward tomorrow to seeing how are athletes do on the very first day of competition. Be sure to watch out for Manuel Osborne-Paradis, Charles Hamelin and Jenn Heil who are all strong contenders for medals tomorrow!

Good night everyone from the first official night of the Olympic Games!