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Olympic Outsiders

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.

March 1, 2010 at 1:06 PM

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Seattle Times' favorite Olympic moments

Posted by Stephanie Clary

OlympicClosing 3.JPGPhoto of the Closing Ceremonies by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times

The Seattle Times sent 15 staff members to cover the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and they worked for 17 days to capture various angles in their blogs, videos, photos, columns and tweets.

Reporting from Whistler, Vancouver, inside the 11 venues and outside in the host-city's streets, we each came away from the Games with unique memories and experiences.

Here are some of our favorites:

Genevieve Alvarez, seattletimes.com videographer:

vec_forsteph.jpgPhoto of Genevieve Alvarez by Genevieve Alvarez

My favorite Olympic moment had nothing to with figure skating outfits, crazed Canadian fans, or snow covered medalists. I never had the opportunity to attend an event. I never made it to Whistler or Cypress. So I took my camera, an inter-velometer, and a tripod to Granville Island and played with light and shape until 3 a.m. Creating the Vectorial Elevation time-lapse gave me the opportunity to spend time with a stranger miles away every few seconds through their art. It was truly a beautiful experience.

Jerry Brewer, sports columnist:

ladiesfreeLOK17.JPGPhoto by John Lok / The Seattle Times

I'll never forget the night Korean figure skater Kim Yu-na became an Olympic legend. It's funny because, before the event, I dreaded covering it.

I had never written about figure skating and wasn't sure I could describe what happened on a tight deadline. I am to figure skating what Shaquille O'Neal is to the Cleveland Cavaliers -- just an out-of-place misfit. But Kim made it easy for me. She was stunning -- elegant and athletic -- and turned the night (which included the courageous performance of a Canadian skater named Joannie Rochette who was mourning her mother's death) into hers. She looked superhuman during her free skate, and when she was finished with her masterful, gold-medal performance, she reminded us that she was a 19-year-old living the same dream that little girls around the world have.

She cried, long and hard. She didn't know why she was crying, but she couldn't stop, either.

I'll never forget the night Kim Yu-na became an Olympic legend. And I'll never fear covering figure skating again.


Jack Broom, metro reporter:

jackbroom.JPG Photo by John Lok / The Seattle Times

Getting to watch Evan Lysacek win the gold medal in men's figure-skating is a moment I won't forget.

Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelley was there to cover the event. I tagged along, more or less, just to see it.

It doesn't take an expert to appreciate the grace, power and artistry of Lysacek's performance — his 6-foot-2 frame making every move appear that much more dramatic.

Russian Evgeni Plushenko, who had led after the short program, complained afterward that his quadruple jump should have earned him the gold. His sour-grapes attitude doesn't bother me. What more can you ask for in an Olympic event: close competition, a come-from-behind victory and a little hint of the Cold War to spice things up?

Tiffany Campbell, seattletimes.com lead producer for enterprise:

IMG_0137.JPGPhoto by Tiffany Campbell / seattletimes.com

I'm not a sports fan. I don't follow teams. I've been snowboarding maybe a handful of times. And when football comes on in my living room, I usually find something else to do.

So what, exactly, was I doing at the Olympics? I may not have started with a rabid appetite for sports, but I now appreciate and more importantly, understand what it means to compete on the world's stage.

I got to stand close by and watch some of the biggest, most exciting moments of the games: Kim Yu-Na skating her long program to get the Gold while the crowd practically held their breath; Australian Torah Bright rebounding from a fall to claim victory on the half-pipe; The Canadian pair Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue skating their hearts out to win their Gold medal in ice dancing for Canada.

All of those were critical, exciting, important. But my favorite moments of the Games were the small ones: Hiking up to the Whistler Sliding Center for the first time to watch the luge competition and realizing that even HD television can't possibly show you how FAST they are going, a literal blink-and-you'll-miss-it event. Watching athletes race down Cypress Mountain in snowboard cross, hanging in mid-air for a split second over jumps that took my breath away. Realizing what kind of courage it must take to stand at the top of the impossibly steep and long half-pipe and take a leap off it. Seeing figure skating events from start to finish. Standing in huge crowds of celebratory, raucous yet utterly polite Canadians screaming joyously for their country.

I also won't forget the behind the scenes machinery either: The endless bus rides listening to conversations in all kinds of languages. The volunteers on lifeguard chairs with bullhorns yelling directions and "Go Canada!" The most polite and happy security guards you'll ever meet, the pins, and of course, how much ridiculousness a big sasquatch mascot can stir up inside a press center, even with an exhausted press corps 10 days in.

I've never participated in something that was so much larger than me, yet that I was so connected to. These Games have given me not just an appreciation for the drama, passion, perseverance and skill it must take to train for years to spend just a few minutes carving up the ice or blowing down a ski run. They've made me understand that the Olympics is about bringing together the world - on the rinks, on the half pipe, and even on the bus.

Thumbnail image for quatchiandme.jpgiPhone photo of Tiffany Campbell with mascot Quatchi

Stephanie Clary, seattletimes.com associate producer:

ladiesfreeLOK47.JPGPhoto of figure skaters Joannie Rochette, Kim Yu-Na and Mao Asada by John Lok / The Seattle Times

Before arriving in Vancouver, I didn't anticipate becoming emotionally attached to the human stories and drama of the Olympics. I thought it was the product of NBC coverage and exaggeration until I began researching athletes and events firsthand.

My favorite moments are the ones that made my heartache or left me covered in goosebumps:

— walking into the Whistler Sliding Centre a day after an Olympian's death and seeing the lugers' jaw-dropping speeds;

— attending my first figure skating event (something my 10-year-old self would never believe) and live-blogging on my own;

— chatting with an enthusiastic J.R. Celski about his love of Seattle music and remembering athletes have passions beyond their athletic talents;

— seeing both Kim Yu-Na's flawless gold-medal, record-shattering skate and Joannie Rochette earn the bronze medal after suffering the unthinkable in the women's free skate competition;

— seeing Canadian and American ice dancers make history by taking the top spots on the podium after classic, romantic performances;

— learning about Johnny Weir from my colleague Tiffany Campbell and becoming fascinated by the captivating Olympian and his fashion sense.

After 17 days in the Olympic bubble, memories began to blur, but these are the touching story threads that will remain the most-clear in my mind.

Bob Condotta, UW Husky football and sports reporter:

condotta.jpgPhoto of Katherine Reutter by John Lok/ The Seattle Times

Favorite moments in any endeavor often aren't just the obvious — someone winning a gold medal, in this particular case. Instead, when spending the entire time here, covering a different event or two every day, it's often the unintended, unscripted moments that stand out.

So for me, there's not really one specific event I can point to and say "that's it.''
Instead, there's a tableau of moments that will stay with me forever:

— Getting to converse with athletes I really knew little about before arriving and coming away knowing I now will want to follow their careers forever, such as Johnny Weir, Katherine Reutter, Bobby Ryan of the US hockey team, Angela Ruggiero of the US hockey team, and US hockey general manager Brian Burke, who guided his team on an unlikely journey in the face of unbelivable tragedy, the death of his son;
— Turning the corner one day on a bus heading for the media center and seeing the Olympic cauldron bathed in an unbelivable sunset;
— My first Olympic event, a Canadian women's hockey game, and realizing that I really was covering an Olympic games;
— The daily train rides to and from my hotel and the media center, which sometimes seemed burdensome but also provided lots of opportunities to talk informally with Canadian residents, and others just basking in the Olympic glow.

Ask me again tomorrow and I'd probably come up with a different list entirely — it was that kind of experience covering an Olympics for the first time, one that will forever rank as a career highlight.

Kevin Fuji, photographer, photo editor:

kevin.jpgPhoto of Shaun White and Scott Lago by Kevin Fuji

I went to the men's Snowboard Halfpipe to edit and transmit images for staff photographer Mike Siegel. This was a late event and pushed deadline. So, allowing Siegel to shoot and leave the editing to me expedites the images to get back to Seattle.

After Shaun White's second run of the finals, he securely defended his gold medal from the 2006 Olympics in Turin. I was at those Olympics in Italy and photographed him winning his first Olympic gold medal. It gave me the chills to witness him successfully defend his championship.

When he and bronze-medal winner Scott Lago celebrated their book-end victories with Old Glory, they came to the smaller photographers' area where I was waiting for Siegel's images. Because they came my way, I pulled up the only camera on me which had a wide-angle zoom lens and made this picture.

Steve Kelley, sports columnist:

Watch Steve Kelley describe his favorite moments:


Michelle Ma, seattletimes.com homepage producer:

Working from our newsroom in Seattle, I saw the Olympics through stunning photos, videos and stories, and followed along — practically in real time — through tweets, live-blogging and Twitpics. We also had a dedicated group of community bloggers who contributed to Olympic Outsiders throughout the Games. Packaging their content and photos was, for me, a favorite part of the Olympics.

Their posts were thoughtful, carefully written, hilarious, witty and moving. Entries like Cynthia
Bishop
's post about her first day in Vancouver had me laughing louder than I probably should have, and others such as this early dispatch by Reuben Joseph, serving in Iraq, made me pause and think about how significant it was for some to attend the Olympics.

Our bloggers' stories — told with such energy, excitement and passion — was what brought the Games to me.

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