End Game

The Games are done. Officially. True, the Paralympics start in a few weeks time (on March 12th to be exact) but as they’re not nationally televised nor heavily promoted, it’s safe to say the Games as most people know them – are over.

The bleachers are bare, the Olympic flame has been extinguished, most pavilions are being taken down right now as you read this and the beer houses are all empty (even the beer is gone, so sad!).

Most unfortunately, the 24-7 celebration of Canada that was the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics has also now come to an end. No longer can you travel downtown at 11AM on a Monday morning or 3 pm on a Thursday afternoon, exit the bus/train and simply join in on the non-stop celebrations.  Traveling with loud and drunken revelers clanging their cow bells at 4 in the afternoon is something you never forget. I’ll miss that most of all.

So in honour of the End of Games, I bring to you some of my favourite (and least favourite) Moments of Olympia

Mascots: Coulrophobia is the abnormal or exaggerated fear of clowns but what’s the term for fear of mascots? I’m not scared of these guys…yet, but I can totally see why people fear them.  Why are they smiling? What the heck are they so happy about? Are they talking about me behind my back?  Get them away from me!

Stay away from me. Your blank stares and phony smiles are scaring me!

Say ‘Hi Mom’ (Olympic themed photos): Word to the wise – no one cares about you standing in front of Olympic venues. If your friends need to see you in front of the Olympic clock to believe you were actually there you either need to A- stop lying to them about that ‘super model’ you once ‘dated’ or B- acquire dimmer friends who don’t require proof. Feel free to take a picture of yourself standing in front of this blog to show them you actually read this advice somewhere too.

Unobstructed views: I love fire… but not being too close to it.

Put that fence back up.

Phew. That’s better.

Kings and Queens: The reason athletes never complain? They are pampered beyond measure.  Every athlete is treated like a star and receive some of the best service available this side of Dubai. Their meal plans alone put Las Vegas’s top buffets to shame.

As I worked in a non-athlete venue, I looked at my soggy sandwich and watery soup daily and wondered if it was the extra mayo they poured on or my tears that made my meal such a water downed mess. Turns out it was the water. Defrosted meats and frozen soup base made for a horrible daily experience. Up side – lost 2 lbs, woo! Turns out that not eating lunch is the best diet plan this side of starvation.

Getting things done: While working at Olympic headquarters, I made a mistake. I forgot to inform 2 employee recognition winners that their event tickets were for an event taking place in 2 days (the last 2 tickets after 600+ others were successfully handed out by me).  2 days passed and their event date was upon us. Looking down at the tickets I gasped and started to madly call around.  It was the day of the event so buses were already sold out. In a panic, I told my boss and asked if we had other ways to get them up there and switch their shifts, etc. Calmly, she had me arrange for one to leave shift that day (with approvals), an Olympic approved car for them to borrow, driving passes to allow them to drive up the mountain and a parking pass for the venue itself. The 2 employees happily showed up 2 hours later to collect their tickets and the car keys and headed up to watch a cool Olympic event. Phew!

Lesson learned: Ask questions, brainstorm solutions, ask, nay DEMAND help and get results. It’s only a mistake if you get caught if you can’t find a solution in time.

Fun around the office: There’s lots of pressure on the Olympic Games’ employees and pressure releases were needed.  Most of these people are from around the world and have been working at these headquarters for the past few years, whereas I just swooped in a month prior to games to collect free Olympic merchandise, gear and tickets (sigh, why all assignments can’t be like this, I’ll never know).

I thought this was done by the kids...turns out it was the adults

Adult art?

...I think she/he got them back

Own the Podium: 22million was spent on this program for winter sports and it had several mandates. 1 very UN-Canadian mandate was to:

While Canada didn’t achieve the most medals, it did achieve the most gold medals and the best almost winning places (4th through 10th) that we’ve ever seen. Whatever the future outcome, go Canada go! Amazing effort by all Olympians.

Crowds, crowds, crowds: The city predicted this, they expected this, they warned us about this but still we never listened or couldn’t believe it until we saw it for ourselves. Waiting 2 hours to get into a National House was common. 5+ hours for a Pavilion the norm.

The real Olympic Games: With the end of the Olympic Games brings the end of the Olympic Games’ contest. No surprise, I’m the winner in my own contest. Sure, I received some entries but they were from people who must have thought I said the XXX games and not the XXI Winter games. However, I’m still impressed with the positions people managed outdoors in the snow AND on skis –wow! It might have just been spam but I think I know entries when I see them.

(Image not available. Saved on my hard drive as…evidence)

Regrets: Only one – not going to Whistler. Not to see any of the events of course but because apparently this is where all the athletes were hanging out and just walking around and relaxing on patios – free as birds.  Alexandre Bilodeau, j’y viens! Wait for me!

Planning Ahead: Make no mistake. With the knowledge I’ve gained over these past 17 days, I’m going to put it all to good use.  There will be no mistakes and no regrets next time because I’ll be ready to take on any challenge. My only issue with Vancouver 2010 is that when I tried to search out the male athletes, I really had no clue who they were until after they won gold. Next time I have to research the single male athletes I want to meet first and then find ways to get to know them. With this new game plan in place, I know I’ll be totally prepared.

London 2012, here I come.

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