The Re-Olympics are here!

Yes, I’m making up words now too. It’s my unsubstantiated belief that after blogging for awhile, I should have some unofficial rights. Made-up right #1: The ability to create at least 1 word per year and hope it makes it into the nation’s lexicon.

Ahem. Now where was I? Ah yes,

The Re-Olympics: An attempt to bring back the unbridled excitement and elated emotions that once surrounded a city.

Exceptions: This phenomenon is only available in cities where the Olympics took place or where medal-winning Olympians were born. (Sorry loser cities but bite us!)

Let’s get to it

At long last the re-Olympics are here. I’ve been waiting a whole year for this unexpected opportunity and, as expected, it had unexpected results. Originally I thought I’d be forced to write another boring piece on Valentine’s Day (gag!…but see below post) but luckily the Re-Olympics saved me from that fateful task (for the record though, I do love any event involving an inordinate amount of chocolate and getting said chocolate in my belly).

The Re-Olympics are here

The Re-Olympics are the official one year anniversary celebrations of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. So much has been planned around this event too: stage shows, concerts, street parties, demonstrations, festivals, random hook-ups, etc. and I was happy to take part in every aspect of it. No matter how early the event, no matter what time the activities would start, I was going to be there.

The first event of the Re-Olympics was at the famed Robson Square. It was supposed to boast free ice-skating while a renowned DJ played some tunes.  Our sexy mayor was also going to make an appearance and play a round of hockey somewhere in the vicinity and all this was scheduled to start Saturday, February 12 @ 9:00 AM sharp. Waking up at the crack of 12:07 PM, I rushed to get ready, ate a quick 3-course breakfast and was quickly out the door in record time. A mere 2 hours and 45 minutes later. Phew. Good job me!

Checking the weather by actually walking out into the Vancouver monsoon, I got cold feet (literally) and almost turned back to the warmth and loving embrace of my comfy couch.
But no, gold medal winning athletes wouldn’t be turned off by a little mini hurricane and neither would I (plus I promised a friend so I was, like, legally bound). Some others weren’t so brave though. Our group of 10+ fanatics was whittled down to a scrappy group of four enthusiasts.

Not willing to stand around in sideways blowing rain, we intelligently sought shelter in a nearby bar. Over several hours and several pints (pints of vodka for me, of course) we reminisced on how we had all last gotten together during the original Olympics.  This prompted us to remember what we were actually here together today to do (oh yeah, the Re-Olympics!) and we stumbled out into gale force winds to get our celebration on.

But first, we detoured to a friend’s house for a few more drinks (boozy logic) and then finally arrived in the thick of it all (or what was left of the thick) just after 6pm.

The Re-Olympics

@ the Convention Centre:

Re-lit for the re-Olympics!

@ Robson Square:

Everyone who woke up after 3PM is here!

With performances by En Karma with South Asian Arts!

Ya I have no clue who they are either. Crowd loved em though!

On Granville Street:

I took a camera phone picture of a bus shelter picture of a camera picture taken from and @ the 2010 Olympics. Trippy.

Blurry shot: proof that vodka & photography don't mix

15 minutes too many

30 minutes later, the four of us were thoroughly Re-Olympic’d out (it’s quite a work out you know, trying to give strangers high-fives plus all that ridiculous ear-to-ear grinning). The atmosphere downtown was still high energy but the Olympians had already left, most of the events for the day were done and we heard rumours of a crazy group of four people who kept trying to give everyone high-fives with ridiculous grins on (how scary!).  After a brief discussion, we decided to save ourselves and agreed that the best place to celebrate a successful Canadian Olympics themed day was…at a nearby Australian bar.

hic.

All in all, the Re-Olympics were a great excuse to daytime drink spend some time with long lost friends and I can’t wait to celebrate the Re-Re-Olympics (start the movement now!) with this group (give or take a few million others) in 2012!

High five! 🙂

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A little something for all of you who want a little V-Day love… look no further (thanks to Virgin Mobile):

Dear whats-ur-face. I think ur not as bad as my other douche-bag. Luv, 'ol 2-timer.

and for those of you who don’t want any V-Day love:

Dear jerkface, I don't even care enough to fill in the blanks. We're through!

 

Happy 365!

What a short, interesting trip it’s been

A year already. It’s a continuous theme in my blog posts: time flies. Now is the time to seize the day, carpe noctem, et cetera and on & on and so on and so forth.

Perhaps you’re a little confused, but in case you haven’t been paying attention (and in your defence, I haven’t been either):

HAPPY ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY!

Now THAT's an anniversary cake!

It’s been one year since I started this blog and today’s post is the first post of year two. Woo!  So technically I missed the anniversary date (September 27th) but just like in my relationships, I’m not one to pay particular attention to big dates (We’ve been together a year already? Are you sure?)  and this one-year mark is another milestone date that came by surprise.

I looked back at my first and still favourite post: the 3-way conundrum; which openly mocked the aftermath of the dissolution of a relationship. This took me more than 3 weeks to compose; it went through several different edits and rewrites and it had no accompanying photos (to protect the guilty). I had the simple goals at the time of keeping it simple, clever, clean and under 500 words (official word count: 512). Reading it again for the first time in over a year, I still like it for its brevity, hilarity, and clarity. It even had its corresponding facebook promotional post:

Going to lunch with an ex. I need to wear something that says ‘I’ve moved on”, “I’m happy with my life right now”, and “Your new girlfriend is probably a whore.” Hmmmm. I’m thinking something in a pattern perhaps? 😉

I’ll admit it’s slightly petty (and over a year later, I’m still totally okay with that), but it was also liberating at the time. It was writing therapy and I suggest you try it sometime (shake out those dusty skeletons).

Moving on, I moved on from there to write about anything, everything and all the fun little in-between activities that came along.

In the beginning

I had no real goal or direction. ‘Living’ is pretty general (just requires breathing – artificial or not) and could relate to many things. Whatever whim, activity or invitation came my way, I would quickly RSVP Y-E-S.  I may have only showed up to about half the events and arrived late to the rest of them (more fashionable that way, of course) but I have accomplished, experienced and been a part of the most random sampling of ‘living’ this side of the hereafter:

– There was my continuous, internal struggle for my love of food men manly food.

– Followed by my deep, outwardly struggle against the battle of the bulge (here’s a hint, I kicked its ASS!)

– A reason to settle for Mr. Right Now: Be my anti-valentine

– Reasons why you shouldn’t (or maybe I shouldn’t) drink and shop

Free booze + shopping =$60 cheap "gold" earrings

– How the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics took over my life. Then a second time. Then again.

-I’m telling the world: What really happens in Vegas

My second home

– Would you like to go salsa dancing with me? Great. Be ready @ 3AM to go.

– Spilling the beans on a great girl’s night out

– My limited number of good deeds (unfortunately just wanting to be good doesn’t count. Humph) Maybe giving up my car counts?

– How I joined the polar bear club (kind of like the mile high club but totally different)

– The time I became a degenerate gambler (bet you 5 to 1 and my right kidney that it won’t happen again!)

…etc, and on & on and so on and so forth. 52 weeks and 52 posts and its getting more fun by the week. I’m even considering changing to a more than once a week format but I think that kind of radical thinking should be saved for year three (crazy hippie thinking!).

Where we go from here

Year one was about trying different activities, living through new experiences, taking part in unusual events and being open minded to everything (especially this).

In year two, I still want to try new things (so much to try, taste and do!) but I’ll be going to the people this time. Confused? Perfect. That’s how I like my audience – highly expectant and in the dark.

Curious? Great! That’s even better.

Stay tuned. 😉

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Ok fine, here are a couple hints:

  • Gastronomic Anomalies: with so much good food out there, why do people feel the need to make this stuff??
  • Happy Sexy You
  • How am I supposed to eat THAT?
  • The bartering system: the real oldest profession

Anniversary cake image

In Vegas

The Paralympic Plight

Shopping on Vancouver’s famed Robson street district yielded several new treasures for my wardrobe with the added bonus of an eye opening experience.

Sunny g's!

That Saturday afternoon started out well enough and saw everyone out and about enjoying the sun. I myself joined in on the fun, wanting to take advantage of this rare February window of clear, blue skies, cool breezes and sunny g weather.

Whilst spending money I had yet to earn, I noticed a new fashion trend. Besides the summer rushers wearing shorts and flip-flops in 11-degree weather (read- not warm enough yet you rushers!); and not including the skinny jeans, ugg boots crowd, there was a newly emerging group of like-minded lemmings: the Go Canada crowd. I commented to my shopping buddy on how glad I was to see people still wearing their team Canada gear after the Olympics were over, feeling the Go Canada fever continued to live on. Giving me the ‘are you crazy’ look, she curtly replied – “What are you talking about, the Paralympics are coming.”

Oops.

Double oops too considering I’m part of the Olympic AND Paralympic organizing committee and should have, sort of, kind of,  really remembered this.

Can I also add a ‘Yikes!’. What a state these games are in when even those working on them day-to-day can easily forget their existence.

Personally, I think there’s really no one to blame for this. Except for those marketing folks of course. Sure I work there but would it kill them to send me an email or a text message or something? Perhaps reminding me that the HR papers I’m working on are for the Paralympics.

Sheesh.

Such is the plight of the Paralympics. Fully supported by the Organizing Committee for the Olympic games (well at least those on the committee who remembered, tee hee), happily embraced by the community, but all but forgotten by International media and the spectators.

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What are the Paralympics?

5 events:

  1. Alpine skiing
  2. Biathalon
  3. Cross Country skiing
  4. Ice Sledge hockey
  5. Curling

Tickets available for sale here. These games will get 150 hours of live and delayed TV coverage and host broadcaster CTV is committed to 50 hours of coverage through its various channels.

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The Olympics were built up with 5+ years of prep work, countless overtime hours and thousands of committee members. It exploded in a 17-day extravaganza of sport and excess and concluded in a continuous series of whirlwind indoor parties and outdoor street celebrations some of us are still reeling from today (it’s no lie, Absinthe stays with you forever). Afterwards, everyone packs up, everyone goes home and (typically) everyone puts away their Olympic clothing and gear and then 2 weeks later another smaller, lesser-known event takes place (Para-what now?).

Problem #1

The logistics are off. How can anyone, short of a member of the royal court, afford to stay for over a month (Feb 12 to Mar 21) to watch both Olympic ceremonies and sporting events? Most can barely afford to go to one actual event (ex. $800+ for an opening ceremony ticket) let alone both series of sports.  I live in the city and couldn’t afford to do everything possible for the first series. Nor could I spare the time in all the line-ups. My maximum time in line is proportionate to my patience level- however long it takes for me to bumped or jostled five times in line indicates it’s time to go. Though not before giving that fifth bumper a swift elbow to the face  (oh I’m sorry, I didn’t see your face in the way of my elbow. Hope that heals quickly for ya.)

Problem #2

Disability stigma. It’s true. No one wants to have a disability. The very nature of the word makes it something you want to avoid. It’s never a celebration or good news when the word ‘disability’ is involved (New Hallmark cards: Happy Disabled Birthday! Congratulations on your Disability!).

However, the Paralympics should be widely celebrated as these athletes are not only more active and much healthier than most of us (yes I’m talking to you on your couch there buddy) they’re also doing it way better than we ever could and they have a disability. Dang. Feel free to give that personal trainer a call now.

Doing some research online (You have to love this invention. I hope it sticks around for awhile), new, exciting info was discovered. After 5 decades of being in the off year of the Olympics, the Paralympics have recently been placed adjunct to the Olympics and are a fully-fledged partner staged in the same host city. This year, Vancouver’s Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee has brought about a few first ever(s):

  • The first time the word Paralympic has been in the organizing committee’s name
  • The first time the Olympic and Paralympic flags have flown side by side at city hall
  • The first Paralympic countdown clock

Says Sir Philip Craven, International Paralympic Committee president: “They’ve gone out right from the start with the intention for it to be one organizing committee and two connected Games in a great festival of sport, and I think it is fantastic”.

Solution:

Go to the events. Continue to wear your team jerseys and support team Canada as our 55 Paralympic athletes take on the world.
Luckily, Go Canada fever still lives on as I’m happy to report that all the Canada games for Sledge Hockey, the most popular Paralympic event, are sold out. No worries though as there are still plenty of other Sledge Hockey games and numerous events left to watch and other countries to cheer for. Alternatively, if you can’t get tickets you should just get out to the bars and cheer Canada on in the traditional way – with a burger and a pint.

Myself, I’m definitely going to support Team Canada and besides going to the opening ceremonies (pending ticket purchase), I will happily host parties at my homestead or at a local bar with fellow well-wishers. Also, when Canada wins gold in the Sledge Hockey finals (or any gold medal final for that matter) I will excitedly attend any and all celebratory parties, honourary celebrations or ‘Better luck next time, Russia’ shindigs in the streets and stay out until the very last underage partier goes home… or at least until last call at the bars. Whichever comes first. So please Team Canada, no thanks needed.

I’m just doing my part.

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.