Sunday, February 21, 2010

Olympic Update: Bobsleighs!

Big day at the sliding centre, albeit a little disappointing for our Canadian teams. But with the sun out again, we managed to have a good time anyway. I was back at the the finish area which was amazing because I'd never seen a bobsled rip the course yet. A totally different story from the luge/skeleton sleds. As our supervisor put it, so far it's been like watching a bicycle race, but with bobsleighs you get the Harley Davidsons.

Today was two man, so with sliders included, they've got just under 400kg of mass coming down the track at speeds exceeding 150km/h. Compared to the luge which I think has a total weight allowance (including slider) of 150kg.

We've got two teams in two-man bobsleigh: Rush and Brown, and Lueders and Lumsden. Rush and Brown headed into the second heat in first, but became one of many sleds to flip tonight. I'm told they inched across the line, so they're still in contention, but it's a devastating blow to their overall time, for sure. The winner is decided by adding up the four times acquired over two days.

Rush and Brown slide into the top spot, heat 1

We had the most people in the sliding centre today of any other day so far: more than 7,000. And look who I found wandering in the crowds! Eleanor Scarth who I met when she was kind enough to host a pile of us at her cottage this past summer in Muskoka. As you can see, she's a fellow smurf, and one of the first smiles I see each morning at the sliding centre when she checks us all into work. Obviously she's playing hooky in this photo, but I won't tell.

Later that day, I met some other VIPs: Quatchi and Miga.
"Quatchi is a young sasquatch who comes from the mysterious forests of Canada. Quatchi is shy, but loves to explore new places and meet new friends."

"Miga is a young sea bear who lives in the ocean with her family pod, beyond Vancouver Island, near Tofino, British Columbia. Sea bears are part killer whale and part bear. (Miga is part Kermode bear, a rare white bear that only lives in British Columbia.)"

I think the Vancouver Mascots are pretty cute, but maybe a little weird. And there's so many to keep track of! I traded a nice little girl my Mukmuk pin today ... bet you didn't even know there was a Mukmuk!

Since yesterday was such a long day (but awesome) I didn't have the energy to take part in the village celebrations for Jon Montgomery. But I heard this morning he ordered a pitcher at Crystal, walked with it to the Village Square about 100m away for his interview with the press, and auctioned what was left for $1000. Turns out that's his day job, for real: he auctions cars. I loved his podium style though. I think a gold medal deserves a good howl.

Speaking of medals (and pins too I guess), I had a lady from Teck on my team today and she gave me my new favourite pin. I should have taken a picture to show you, loyal reader, but it's too late now. Anyway, Teck is the company that made all the medals for the athletes. The designer made one big design and then each medal is cut from it, so everyone is different and in theory, would go back into one big picture again. Everyone who wins a medal also gets a silk scarf showing the entire design so the joke has been to try and figure out which part of the design your medal came from. She said VANOC brought in a few medals for the workers to see (but not touch). That would have been pretty cool. Btw, what's with Lago having to go home??

The only other funny thing that happened at work today was when Allison, fellow-team leader, denied access to the start athlete area to the Prince of Monaco. Whoops. But pretty cool that the Prince of Monaco paid us a visit today nonetheless. He was a slider himself I think I heard, and Monaco has got a sled in the race.

After work, especially since we only had to work nine hours today -- short! -- a few of us decided to hit up a place for a drink. Easier said than done in Whistler these days, but we found a table at the Elephant Castle. Even got a free margarita! And that's how you know it's been a good day ... when it ends with free drinks!

Village hijinks