2010Feb 28

Hockey Bronze Medal – Finland 5 – Slovakia 3

by Michael Przybylowski, SPAD 3rd Year Student

Michael & The Olympic Torch

I flew out to Vancouver Thursday evening after some (expected) delays.  While walking through the airport, it was amazing to see just how different the Vancouver airport was compared to other airports.  All the advertising was obviously taken up by key Olympic sponsors.  What was more incredible was there seemed to be an Olympic face lane for Olympic personal.  I was tempted to see what would happen if I tried to go through the “Olympic” area, but the airport was not busy, so this was pointless.  If there is something like this for the flight out, I will certainly look into it.  I ended up getting through the airport quite quickly and was on my way to stay with family friends out in West Vancouver.

After finding out that I was not allocated any tickets for either semi-final (a muck up in arrangements), I ended up doing homework all day.  I know; what a model student I made that day.  I watched Canada take home a few medals; the disappointing silver in women’s curling, and the fantastic double gold for Charles Hamlin, although I really hope he retires, because I cannot take watching him race again, win, and watch his girlfriend cry about his happiest moment ever; it is just a bit over the top.

Saturday came, and it was the big day-my first Olympic event attended ever.  (On TV), it was nice to see the men in the long-track speed skating finally win a medal – gold!  What was even more fantastic was Jasey-Jay Anderson’s result at Cypress.  Another gold for Canada, his first medal in four tries.  After his win, I made my way downtown and the atmosphere was buzzing.  I made my way down to the Olympic Flame and media center and it seemed like the whole city of Vancouver was down there.  The lineup to get an ideal picture of the Olympic Flame off some balcony must have been at least two hours long.  If I had to criticize one aspect was the crowd control.  To make a long story short, it was crowded, it was hard to breathe, and a 15 minute walk took 25-30 minutes, especially if you were walking down Robson Street.  I went to the HBC flagship store while spending time downtown.  It was incredible the looking at the lineup to get into the Olympic section of the store.  The line went down one whole block and looped halfway back up the same block.  By that time, it was getting close to the bronze medal game so it was time to head towards the GM Place (yes I refuse to call it Canadian Hockey Place or whatever it is called).  While walking down towards the game on Robson Street, it was interesting to note there was some sort of protest about Iran and human rights strategically placed under the zip-line that runs through the downtown.  If I had more time, taking the zip-line would have been neat.

Since this was my first-time going to the GM Place, I was following a map that was given to us by volunteers.  As I am making my way on the most direct route towards the stadium, I am stopped by a volunteer.  Apparently the most direct route is for media only.  Instead I am directed down another block and past some high-rises and around the whole stadium, which at the time I thought they were telling me this was the quicker route.  It was not until after the game did I realize I had been duped and spent an extra 20 minutes walking around the GM Place to go through the most useless security checkpoint I have ever seen.  As I am going through security, they have me take out my camera, my wallet, and other things that might trip the metal detector.  I, like many others, left my shoes and belt on.  So as we are all going through the metal detector, we are, of course, setting it off.  So instead of patting everyone down, the security seemed to be picking one out of every ten people to use the metal detector wand.  In a sense, I could have walked in with a weapon and if I was part of the nine out of ten people who did not get checked, even though we would all set the metal detector off, I could have easily walked in with who knows what.  What it seems like VANOC was trying to do was make it appear that there was a “security” check, but really all it was, was a waste of time for fans outside while they got wet during the rain.

Media Seats at GM Place

Finally after wasting my life away through the pointless security check, I got into the GM Place and took my seat.  The first think that astonished me was the amount of seats in prime location that had been converted into media seats.  I felt like I was at a football (sic: soccer) game in Europe.  I had never seen so many seats dedicated to media (in North America) and all I could think about was the lost opportunity cost that those seats could have sold for (especially the Gold Medal Game).  The teams came out and the first period got off to a slow start.  So slow, my father beside me fell asleep; more to his jet lag and it being about 10:30 his time.  The only goal of the period came off a wicked slap-shot from Sami Salo for the Fins on the power-play, which I am proud to say as he wound up for the shot, I called it going into the net.  The period would later end and I felt like the rest of the game was going to be as slow.  The game became much more exciting in the second and third periods.  Another seven goals were scored and the fans and the atmosphere became alive.  I was shocked at how loud it got even though there was no Team Canada.  As I start to hit 1000 words on this entry, I feel it is time to wrap things up.  I am off to the Gold Medal Game and consider myself the luckiest SOB ever.  We are going to win the final 6-0 (well really 6-2, I just want to shut out the Americans) and we are going to set a Winter Olympics record with 14 GOLD!

Until next time,

Go (Eh OH) Canada Go

See more of Michael’s pictures in the SPAD Flickr Photo Stream

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