Day two started out bright and sunny… we made our way up to the Canadian border where my dear husband ran into “problems” with the Canadian border guards. They wanted to know why he is listed as a permanent resident of Canada, and yet he lives in the USA. Hmmm. DH informed them that he is a Canadian citizen, not a permanent resident, but because he had nothing with him to prove that, they tended not to believe him. At any rate, they finally granted us entry into their country, and it was a darn good thing we’d left home early because that fiasco took about 45 minutes! We drove up to our friend Jim’s place which was close to today’s venue, Pacific Coliseum. We took a cab to the venue to save the poor hip of my dear husband, but…….. alas, the cab driver had NO clue as to where to drop us off — and we ended up walking nearly as far as we would have if we’d just walked from Jim’s house. So frustrating for the guy with the BAD leg.
Anyway, today we were going to watch Short Track Speed Skating, and we knew it would be nothing less than exciting. We were NOT disappointed!! It was a thrill!! We got to watch semi finals of the women’s 500 meters, then the finals of the same – so we actually got to see a Gold medal race! We also thoroughly enjoyed the heats and semi finals of the men’s 1000 meters which included appearances by our fellow Washingtonians, Apolo Ohno and J.R. Celski.
Here is a shot of the men’s heats about to begin. Apolo Ohno is on the far left. These guys go soooo fast, it’s hard to get a good shot of them in action.
As shown in the photo, this was one of the heats for the men’s 1000 meters race. The medal race was held several days later, and Apolo did get the bronze medal, making him the most decorated Winter Olympian ever -from the USA.
Up next was the mens 5000 meter team relay heats. It was amazing to see so many guys on the ice all the time! Tonight is the final – the gold medal round – of this event. Five teams have qualified, each with 4 men on the team, so lots of bodies will be skating tonight for the gold. Go team USA!!
Next up was the women’s 500 meters final Here are the ladies being introduced. No Americans in the final four, however there were two Canadian women in the group and needless to say, the crowd went wild!! They are 2nd and 3rd from the left in this photo.
One of the things that we found most interesting was what goes on outside of the eye of your typical television viewer. The “ice repair” – an ongoing thing between every race – is fascinating. If one of the skaters falls, inevitably there will be a hole made in the ice. Out race the ‘repair team’ to the rescue!!
Here they are with the big bucket of snow and what looks like a grouting trowel which is used to repair the hole. An official quickly comes over to inspect the repair job. If it’s acceptable, then the race goes on. Sometimes it takes a bit more than the snow and the trowel!
Sometimes it takes a blast of your good old fashioned CO2 Fire extinguisher to seal up the repair job!!
These folks in the blue jackets race around doing more than repairing holes, too! One of them seemed to be always pouring water from the large white bucket onto the corners of the track. Others watch during each race to see if any of the little black knob thingys (that mark the edges of the track) are knocked off by the skaters. When they invariably are, these folks RACE out onto the ice, replace the little markers, and quickly skate away – all before the racers make it down to that end of the track again. It’s a “side show” to the main event – watching all the behind the scenes action!
After the event, we met up with our buddy Jim and went out for dinner at one of Vancouver’s favorite Italian restaurants, Antons. We had to wait in the line up out the door and down the block on a nippy evening, but it was worth the wait. Great atmosphere and gargantuan portions. Not one person left there without a take home carton! Not one!
So, this was our very fun, exciting, and much anticipated Olympics! I’m so grateful that we were able to attend! I sincerely doubt I’ll ever attend another Olympics, summer or winter, but I’ll have the memories from Vancouver 2010 for always!