Today marks Day 1 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. It's hard to believe that these years of mumbling, building, speculation, fervor and furor are finally unfolding and culminating, today, right here in my city. I think I can call it "my city"; I've lived here for only shy of three and a half years, but it's kinda neat to feel like a rightful local as visitors from the world descend.
I managed to (just barely) attend the torch relay yesterday at Main & 12th and again today at Broadway & Commercial. Not till now has the fever pitch begun to absorb.
This post will serve as a brief compendium of notable events leading upto, during, and following the Games.
- Thursday (11th), p.m.: SeaBus service suspended for several hours while police bomb squad detonates a suspicious fishing rod.
- Friday (12th), a.m.: Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili dies on a training run at Whistler after flipping off his sled on a 270° turn at 140 km/h and slamming head-first into a metal column.
- Saturday (13th), p.m.: Luge track re-opened; all starts lowered by several hundred metres to the and disappointment of the Canadian team. Jennifer Heil wins silver in ladies' moguls.
- Sunday (14th), p.m.: Freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau wins Canada's first-ever Olympic gold medal on home soil, in men's moguls. Woot! Kristina Groves takes bronze in ladies' 3000m speed skate.
- Monday (15th), p.m.: Mike Robertson takes Canadian silver in men's snowboard cross.
- Tuesday (16th), p.m.: Maëlle Ricker wins Canada's second home-soil gold medal in ladies' snowboard cross!
- Wednesday (17th): Marianne St. Gelais takes silver for Canada in the ladies' 500m speed skate.
- Thursday (18th), p.m.: Christine Nesbitt wins gold for Canada in the ladies' 1000m speed skate!
- Friday (19th), p.m.: Jon Montgomery takes gold for Canada in men's skeleton! What a charismatic dude.
- Saturday (20th), p.m.: Record crowds reported in downtown Vancouver; police shut down liquor stores early in an effort to curb open alcohol consumption.
- Sunday (21st), p.m.: Canada plays China in curling (and loses in the extra end), but I was there, and it was a lot more fun than I expected. But before that, Kristina Groves wins silver for Canada in the ladies' 1500m skate (her second medal of the Games).
- Monday (22nd), p.m.: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir take gold for Canada in the figure skating ice dance as both the youngest and the first North Americans in the event!
- Tuesday (23rd), p.m.: Ashleigh McIvor wins for Canada the first ever Olympic gold medal awarded in ladies' ski cross! Then, I went and watched Norway play respectably (but not quite well enough) against the Slovaks in a hockey qualifying game.
- Wednesday (24th), p.m.: Four medals brought home by Canadian women today, including gold and silver in two-chick bobsled, silver in 3000m short track relay, and bronze for Clara Hughes in 5000m long track – Hughes now the only athlete ever to hold medals in both summer and winter Olympic Games! And not least, Canada rolls over Russia in the hockey semi-finals.
- Thursday (25th), p.m.: Canadian women win hockey gold, again! And, Joannie Rochette makes bronze in ladies' figure skate – a gold for her mom.
- Friday (26th), p.m.: Canadians win a wack of medals, including gold for Charles Hamelin (apparently the first Canadian with multiple medals in this year's Games) and bronze for F-L Trembley in bronze in the men's 500m short-track speed skate! And… gold in the men's 5000m relay (Hamelin bros. and F-L T. again plus J. Olivier)! Women's curling team pulls silver (no scoff) after a somewhat surprisingly disappointing tank in the last extra end (but who am I to assess? I didn't become a curling fan until last Sunday). At the Anza we cheered the men's hockey team to kick Slovakia (though late in the third, somewhat barely) for a berth in the gold medal game against the States on Sunday. Wooo! As the clock strikes tomorrow, Canada sits in first place for gold medals (10)!
- Saturday (27th), p.m.: Canada breaks the record for most gold medals won by a host country, and ties the former USSR for most ever at the Winter Games! Within a dozen minutes of one another, first it's gold for the men's team pursuit long-track speed skating team, then gold for Jasey-Jay Anderson in men's snowboard parallel giant slalom! Then a few hours later, the men's curling team pulls gold! "Own the Podium" is no longer looking quite so bad as it was a few days ago. Hockey gold next…?
- Sunday (28th), p.m.: Hockey gold by Crosby's game-winning goal!!1!111!1! and ensuing mass pandemonium in downtown Vancouver unlike that ever before experienced.
Wow, what a Games.
Related post-script of Thurs 11 March: Erik Guay, who failed to place in the men's downhill events, has just won the World Cup in super-G downhill – becoming the first Canadian man in 28 years to win a discipline title. I guess that's due redemption.