If you can't be inside the Olympic Games, then follow Seattle Times producers, reporters, videographers and Olympic fans as we take you to the streets of Vancouver, B.C., to show you what's happening on the ground and give you a taste of the scene swirling around the 2010 winter games.
A brush with athletes and Northern neighbors
Posted by Seattle Times staff
Submitted by Reuben Joseph
So initially I was worried that I may have anticipated too much before arriving to the Olympics in Vancouver. Fortunately, that has not been the case. My experience so far has over exceeded my expectations! Attending these Games is turning out to be one of the best times of my life and I can only imagine what is going to unfold later this week!
I arrived to town on Friday and could not believe the crowds of red that I saw all over the streets of Vancouver. The Canadians are making every effort possible to let the world know that these Olympic Games belong to them! I can't blame them either; they have been a great host nation and have set the standard to what an Olympic experience should be like for anyone visiting from a foreign country. All over downtown Vancouver there is something to see and do. There is so much activity going on in the streets that it is too overwhelming to decide what to do! But I guess that is part of the adventure; finding yourself entrapped within the Olympic experience.
My Olympic experience at the games started Saturday night with the premier short track event being held at Pacific Coliseum. Apolo Ohno was racing for his American record, a 7th Winter Olympic medal, and did so in a come-from-behind fashion, passing a Canadian favorite to capture the bronze in front of an electrifying crowd that was buzzing all night.
I had some unbelievable seats located two rows up from the ice where the skaters finished and exited the track. After each exit by either Apolo Ohno or J.R. Celski, my group of friends and I started chanting 2-0H-6, 2-0H-6, 2-0H-6! Each time Ohno responded back with an emphatic 206 in return! I was also fortunate enough to meet the Seahawks former coach Jim Mora sitting directly behind me. I introduced myself to him by buying him a beer; he was very gracious for the beer and was delighted to take a picture with me. Lastly, I had the opportunity to meet and shake hands with 2008 Summer Olympic phenom Michael Phelps. Although he has had some unfortunate bad press in the media he was a class act to all the fans that greeted him. Michael Phelps posed for pictures and signed autographs to every fan that came by to greet him. Very cool!
Going on one hour of sleep after a night of partying at the German House I headed north to Whistler to attend the men's and women's biathlon. For those that don't know, the biathlon brings out some of the world's craziest fans! The French were in full force cheering on their athletes with trumpets sounding to numerous responsive chants in return. While watching the biathlon I had the opportunity to strike up a conversation with one of the Frenchmen whose daughter was competing in the women's event later that afternoon. Earlier in the week his daughter took the bronze in the women's sprint biathlon. It was pretty amazing to hear, feel, and see his excitement for his daughter. After that I was very compelled to cheer for the French, who remarkably made up ground on the last lap of the men's 15km biathlon to win the silver medal!
Immediately after the biathlon I jumped onto the Olympic Express and headed back to Vancouver for the much anticipated men's ice hockey match between Team USA and Team Canada. Canada with high hopes of winning the gold had so much pride going into this game but lost 5-3 in dramatic fashion to the U.S.
After the game I immediately hit the streets to see the fans' reaction and to my surprise the life was literally taken out of each Canadian that I walked by. But to liven up the crowded streets I finally decided to raise my USA flag high in the sky. The Canadians losing to the Americans is a very sensitive subject so I decided to stay quiet and let my flag do all the talking. Without being rude and obnoxious, the Canadians started to heckle me in a respective fashion. In the end many of us shook hands and hugged with admiration for both countries. It was an amazing scene to see and be a part of and I'm glad I was there for it!
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