FC: 2010 Olympic Winter Games | February 12-28
1: 17 days. 86 events. 15 sports. 82 countries 1 world. | "I still can't believe I won the Olympics. That's what I feel right now - completely alive as a human being. It's a really beautiful moment." - Clara Hughes
2: January 18 - 20, 2011 The Torch Relay comes to Calgary! We went to different torch celebrations in downtown Calgary at Olympic Plaza, in Airdrie and at the Olympic Oval at the University. We dressed up in our Canadian gear and celebrated the coming of the games. We took pictures with the mascots, and tried to get as close to the flame as we could. This was our training for the Olympics which were fast approaching!
5: One of the best things about the Torch Relay events was getting to take your picture with the torch against an inukshuk background. The inukshuk means friendship and was the official logo of the games.
11: The event at the Olympic oval was the best one! We got to see the torch be skated around the oval several times and the whole speed skating team went around too. We got to be so close to the torch, you could actually feel the warmth of the fire.
13: Watching the Torch be run out of the city, During the relay, a live feed was set up and I spent many hours following the torch around our city. Approximately 12,000 people will have the opportunity to carry the Olympic Torch as it travels from Ancient Olympia towards Vancouver, BC, site of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
14: Vancouver Bound! Bring on the Games!
15: I was 11 years old in 2003 when Vancouver was awarded the Olympic games to be held in 2010. After attending a bid party at Canada Olympic Park to watch Vancouver be selected as the host city for the games, I called Grandma to tell her that we would be visiting in 2010 for the games. Few people thought we would ever make it happen!
16: Alyson got a paper route and for more than a year we delivered fliers to save money to buy tickets. We had "Sister's club meetings" to plan our trip to the Olympics and bega our collections of Canadian gear to wear at the games!
18: Our first day at the games was Friday February 26, 2010, the last weekend of the games. By this time the games were in full swing, all of Canada was celebrating patriotically with every Canadian success. Everyone was so proud to be Canadian and the atmosphere was an experience like no other!
19: Updating my Olympic blog www.redwhiteandkate.blogspot.com
23: On the train to Vancouver we took lots of pictures in our Canadian gear and had fun putting temporary tattoos anywhere we could to show our Canadian spirit!
26: Even Kass was ready for the games! | Go Canada!
28: It was rainy and a bit chilly in Vancouver | But we didn't let that stop us from enjoying the views of the Olympic Cauldron, from Jack Poole Plaza
33: The Olympic Cauldron - Following the Longest National Torch Relay in Olympic History, the Olympic Cauldron was lit on February 12, 2010 marking the official opening of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games | As the Flame made its way from coast to coast, it did much more than shine a light on the people and places that are truly Canadian. It carried with it a powerful message. The Flame symbolizes the values that lie at the heart of the Games and Canadians - peace, friendship and respect
34: Out on the town in downtown Vancouver was an incredible experience. Our crazy Canadian inspired outfits were the norm. Everyone had something to show their pride, and the spirit was everywhere. | The atmosphere of being in Vancouver for the games was simply incredible, there was no other way to describe it. Canadian Patriotism originating in Robson square spread throughout Canada, and everyone was talking about the Olympics, that truly became "Canada's Games." It was an experience that I will never forget. The memories will last forever.
36: Next we headed to BC Place, for our the Victory Ceremony, the first event we had tickets for at the Games!
39: Due to security before going into events we were through with a lot of time before the event was to start, which of course left lots of time for us to take pictures!
40: Athletes Receiving Their Medals!
41: "The feeling of accomplishment welled up inside of me, three Olympic gold medals. I knew that was something nobody could ever take away from me, ever." Wilma Rudolph
42: Not only did we get to see the medal ceremonies, we also got to see some cool bands like Great Big Sea and Tara Oram!
43: Some ads displayed in downtown Vancouver during the game in support of Team Canada Hockey. After we came out of the medals ceremonies, Canada was just finishing up a wild third period vs Slovakia to advance to the finals! Stores all had televisions on the game, and people stopped to watch. You could tell what was happening in the game, just from the atmosphere on the street!
44: The train back to Mission was an opportunity to take more picture with Kass!
46: Saturday, February 27 took us to the Pacific Coliseum to take in the Figure Skating exhibition, after Grandma's GPS "recalculated" a few hundred times!. We were lucky enough to see all the medal winners in figure skating including Tessa and Scott, Evgeni Plushenko and Joannie Rochette!
48: The Canadian cheering section.
49: But we were not to be outdone! We were decked out in our Canadian gear, proud to show our colours!
50: Alyson definitely won the "Most Canadian" Contest with this outfit! She herself was a tourist attraction in Vancouver during the games!
51: The opening act. The skaters were dressed all in white, the official colour of the Olympic games. The colour is a symbol for peace during the games.
52: "I just try to touch people's hearts in a way through skating, so they're not just witnessing a performance, they're feeling a performance and they're a part of it." Scott Hamilton
53: "Figure skating is a mixture of art and sport." Katarina Witt
54: Great skating was in no short supply during the Gala
55: With the judges nowhere in sight, the skaters put on a great show, with lots of cool tricks
58: Canadian Patrick Chan | Placed 5th in the 2010 Olympics, went on to win the World Championships
59: I became a fan of Evgeni Plushenko's during the 2002 Olympics where he won the Silver medal. In Vancouver, he again won Silver, after winning gold in Italy in 2006, He made some controversial comments, "Without a quad it's not men's figure skating," referring to American Evan Lysacek. He is also the one who taught me such a wonderful Russian accent!
60: Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao of China won the gold medal in pairs in Vancouver, after winning bronze in Salt Lake City and in Italy. How many times can you say their names quickly in a row?
61: Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao
62: Joannie Rochette went into the Olympics as a 6 time Canadian Champion, but still considered an outside shot for a medal at the games. Only days before she was to skate in the short program, she learned that her mother had passed away suddenly of a heart attack.
63: Many expected that Joannie would withdraw from the competition, but instead she chose to skate in honour of her mother. She delivered 2 strong performances and won the bronze medal. Her performance at the exhibition was an emotional dedication to her mother.
64: Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the USA were Tessa and Scott's closest rivals during the Olympics. | The skated well and ultimately won the Silver medal. As training mates, the two teams push each other to improve each season.
65: Tessa and Scott won the Gold Medal in Vancouver, and went on to become World Champions in the same year.
66: "It's been 13 years of skating together. What a journey. It's been so many ups and downs, so many sacrifices. We've grown up together. We're best friends. It's just so amazing to share this together." Tessa Virtue
67: 2010 Olympic Gold Medallists | 2010 World Champions
68: Sunday, February 28 was the final day of the games and we headed downtown in our Canadian outfits to attend the Closing Ceremonies. It was also the day of the Men's Hockey Final, where Canada was playing the USA, so the streets were filled with excitement and anticipation.
69: These were the sides of buildings in downtown Vancouver. The Olympic spirit was inescapable!
71: Mom, Alyson and Jennifer were ready for the festivities of the day as we took the train to downtown Vancouver.
74: Lots of people didn't have tickets to Canada's Gold Medal Men's Hockey Game, but it didn't matter. The crowds were dressed all in red, and it was not uncommon to hear throngs of people singing portions of Oh Canada, loudly and with as much pride as they could muster. Proud to be Canadian.
75: Cherish The Ones You Love
76: Before the ceremonies started, we saw the Olympic Cauldron, still missing the 4th leg, poking fun at a technical mishap that occurred during the Opening Ceremonies. We also got to see giant snowballs which they later sent through the crowd
77: The final moments of the Men's Hockey Gold Medal Game happened as we were waiting for the Closing Ceremonies to begin. We watched from TVs in the stadium with thousands of others.
78: Jennifer finally got in on the action taking lots of pictures before the ceremonies began. Canada had just won GOLD in the Men's Hockey Final, so we were pretty happy. Can you tell?
79: It was a little sad that the Games were ending, it had been such an incredible experience. | But nonetheless we were so happy to be at the Closing Ceremonies, what better way to send the Games out with a bang?
80: For the Closing Ceremonies, everyone got a box of props and souvenirs to be part of the production. During the preshow, we took "lessons" on when to use each prop to make the show the best it could be!
81: "The Sister's Club" at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games Closing Ceremonies
83: Poking a little fun at ourselves. How very Canadian of us! | At the beginning of the Ceremony, it showed an Olympic Cauldron with only 3 legs. A mime climbed out of the ground and helped to pull the 4th leg into position
84: The mime lit the 4th leg of the Cauldron first, and then it spread to the entire rest of the Cauldron. I t was truly spectacular to witness! I'm so glad I was there to see it first hand.
86: Dancers circled the Olympic Cauldron. They were dressed all in white, and images of the games were projected onto them, and only us audience members as well.
87: Here come the athletes!
88: Joannie Rochette was chosen to be Canada's Flag Bearer during the Closing Ceremonies.
89: Audience members got to be a part of spelling out "Thank You" and "Merci" for all of the Volunteers who helped to put the games together!
90: White Backgrounds rose around the Olympic Cauldron and images were shown of Sochi, Russia | The Sochi Organizing Committee were a part of the Closing Ceremonies in Vancouver to preview the 2014 Games.
92: The Closing Ceremonies showcased the most Canadian of Canadian Stereotypes, such as Mounties, Beavers, Maple Leaves. | All in good fun Eh!
93: Where else would one find giant hockey players, flying moose, or inflatable beavers? Only in Canada, Eh!
94: Girls, you've got something on your heads. Oh wait, those are giant Moose Ears. Does it really get any better than this Eh??
95: Here come the snowballs! Let's get this party started, Eh!
96: Are any words necessary to describe this?
97: I can think of just one AWESOME
99: Never underestimate the power of national pride.
100: Alexandre Bilodeau - Gold Medalist in Men's Moguls Alyson's Future Husband
101: The First Ever Gold Medalist to Win on Canadian Soil (Or Should I say snow?)
102: On the train home on our final day of the games. Sad that the festivities had to come to an end, but happy to have gained such a great experience and knowing that the memories will last forever. Looking forward to attending our next Olympic Games on Canadian Soil!
104: "Went for a little bit of a walk down Robson Street, and just seeing everybody in their red and white was absolutely amazing." - Maelle Ricker, Canadian "I didn't know that Canadians were this patriotic. I always thought Americans were more, but not even close." - Shani Davis, American Is this who we are now? Is this just a passing fad, temporary, disposable, dress up patriotism? Or is it a glimpse into the mirror at a changing place? Flag waving, chest thumping, wearing the colors, bursting into spontaneous choruses of "Oh Canada." That's different. If nothing else, the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver and Whistler provided an excuse for the most visible expression of National Pride perhaps, outside of wartime. Other sporting events in the past have pushed the same buttons. The 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union, Canada Cups and World Cups, Donovan Bailey breaking the tape, and before that, Ben Johnson breaking the tape, the Calgary Olympic games in 1988. Each of those were special and each of those were a little different than what we are seeing now, not just here in the city where you can't walk half a block without seeing a red maple leaf, but in other places across the country, wherever people have gathered to watch the games.
105: This is bigger. It is louder. It is bolder. It is more confident. The combination of an Olympics at home, in which Canada expects to win, and win often has at very least been the excuse for a national party and perhaps for something more then that. The power of spectator sport is the power of community. "Everybody's coming together. We came out from Port Coquitlam. Everybody thinks its just the downtown, but even out there its the same thing. Everybody's got their Canada flags out. We've got one on the house, we've got one on the car." - Canadian Olympic Enthusiast "I was there last night when Christine Nesbitt got her gold medal and I sang as loud as I could and so did everyone around me." - Proud Canadian The spectacle is there, the thrill of watching remarkable athletes at their best, but the real emotional pull comes only when you have a rooting interest. And when you join with others who feel the same, who care the same, who are united, at least temporarily as part of a single tribe. "I like it, I am excited about it. I get kind of teary eyed." - Patriotic Canadian
106: "Oh absolutely, I think its made everybody more patriotic. I think its a wonderful thing" - When asked about the effect of the Olympics on Canada "It gives me the chills inside, that's what I love. I love hearing the National Anthem when it plays, makes me feel proud to be a Canadian." - Another Proud Canadian Defining a national identity from this vast, diverse place has always been the Great Canadian Challenge. Where's the rallying point? The unifying idea that pulls it all together? In this moment, it is these Olympic games. And in this moment, for a lot of us, this has become that rare opportunity to shout "Canada" from the rooftops. If that attitude sticks, it will take some getting used to. We like to think of ourselves in contrast to our neighbors to the south, a self-effacing sort, who don't need flag waving and pledges of allegiance and the opportunity to crush other nations in the field of play. If anything, it helped use to know who we were, by knowing who we were not. Maybe that's changing. Maybe we like it. Maybe we were just waiting for the chance. Maybe this is it.
108: But Wait...
109: My 2010 Olympic Experience was not yet over. In March, I returned to Vancouver to take in the Paralymic Gold Medal Sledge Hockey Game and get one more taste of that Olympic spirit.
110: This time there was no rain, only blue skies on a Spring day in downtown Vancouver. | We of course returned to see the Olympic Cauldron, which had been lit again in honour of the Paralymic Games.
114: We went for dinner down by the ocean, and on our way saw some Canadian Geese. What's more Canadian than that?
115: A little heaven on earth... By the ocean at night is my absolutely favourite place to be in the whole world...
116: USA VS Japan | The next day was the Men's Sledge Hockey Gold Medal Game
117: It was awesome to see how skilled the players were at manouvering and gaining speed!
119: The highlights of the game for me, were getting to see Mr. John Furlong present the medals, and getting my picture taken with the #1 Olympic Fan - the guy who had tickets to everything!
120: Team USA won and we were lucky enough to get to see the Medal Ceremony as well. It is so neat to see athletes receive an Olympic medal and to witness the culmination of all their hard work!
122: Before we returned to Calgary, we took in some of the sights and tourist attractions around Vancouver. As it was the final days of the Paralympics, things were considerably quieter, but everywhere still had a touch of Olympic magic.
123: Above Left: The International Broadcast Center Above Right: Official Ticket Booth of the Games Below: The Olympic rings that lit up at night
124: Uniquely Canadian
128: Three of the most notorious places during the Olympic Games. The countdown clock in Robson Square, which hit zero as the biggest celebration Canada has ever known began. Robson Square, located on Robson Street, because the central gathering place for Canadians young and old. The Olympic Superstore became known as the place to get your Canadian gear, the place to go to show your colours!
129: Robson square was the center of the action during the Olympics and Paralymics. It came to symbolize the unity of all Canadians in celebration of our successes at the Games!
131: The photo on the left shows a window display from Chapters bookstore during the Games, | Inside view of the skating rink at Robson Square and the International Broadcast Center displaying its "Go Canada Go" message loud and clear.
132: Memories of Vancouver 2010
134: "Don't count the years...count the memories."
136: When we returned home, I stored away all my Olympic memorabilia, clothing, souvenirs, books, photos and mementos. These are memories I wish to keep forever and this book is my way of immortalizing my once in a lifetime experience.
137: My Olympic coin collection