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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 11:25 AM

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Vancouver's Super Sunday

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Submitted by George Liu

My brother and I left our hotel at 10:30 a.m. to look for a suitable place from where to watch the men's ice hockey gold medal match-up. Every sports bar that we passed had a long line in front, and people had started to line up at 8:00 a.m. for a competition that was scheduled to begin four hours later. The situation at LiveCity Yaletown, where I had watched the Opening Ceremony on a huge projection screen two weeks earlier with several thousand Olympics fans, wasn't any better. The line stretched for at least three blocks, and the venue personnel said that it would take a person at least an hour and a half to get inside LiveCity, because everyone was subject to a security screening.

We then walked to the Molson Canadian Hockey House located about a quarter mile from the General Motors Place - ground zero for the clash between the ice hockey titans. The Molson House had a daily cover fee of $100 to watch hockey matches in its tent-like building, but also had two large outdoor screens for those fans who balked at paying the high admission fee. Not only were we able to get an elevated standing spot on the entrance ramp to the Quebec exhibition hall, but we also were given one of the last free scarves from that exhibitor. We had an excellent view of a screen and joined the cowbell ringing, chanting, and yelling that went on as the team from a proud, small nation took on the much larger nation to the south.

When Canada won with a goal scored during the sudden-death overtime period, the crowd became delirious with joy for winning the one gold medal that it wanted so much. The partying began and was still going when we returned to our hotel late that night. It was like a Super Bowl and a World Series victory celebration taking place at the same time.

After a quick lunch we walked over to the BC Place Stadium to attend the Closing Ceremony with 60,000 other Olympics enthusiasts. On every seat was placed a box that contained a glossy Closing Ceremony book, a "rain poncho" to give everyone a uniform look, rubber antlers, a red or white blinking light, a piece of folded cardboard for card tricks, and a Sochi (site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games) snow globe that had a built-in light. All of these items were used throughout the evening under the guidance of enthusiastic, yelling leaders.

Everyone reading this has probably seen a closing ceremony on television, and the lesson we learned is that the view is better on TV. We could barely see most of the performers because they were so far away from even the people who had purchased the highest-priced tickets. For example, all we could see of Neil Young were his legs; the rest of his body was hidden by one of the cauldron's legs. However, this lack of good viewing was offset by the positive feeling and goodwill on the last day of the Olympic Games.

On the way back to our hotel, my brother and I agreed the money we spent on the Closing Ceremony tickets could have been better used to purchase tickets for competition sessions. However, we did not regret attending the Closing Ceremony. We look forward to attending the Sochi Olympics in 2014 in spirit, because all of the good times that we had during the past two weeks will live with us forever.

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