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FiveRingFever

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Posts posted by FiveRingFever

  1. Well, I'm currently watching the downhill on the tube rather than being at Cypress for the men's snowboard cross. I had standing room tickets, so I was one of the unlucky. :angry:

    On the bright side, I am well rested and have my blogging game face on! My last entry was for the women's biathlon on Saturday. Picking up from there, I had to make tracks for Vancouver to see the short track that evening. I got to the bus for Lonsdale Quay and there were about 5 people on the bus. Unfortunately, the buses need to fill up before they go. Another guy and his young son were in the same boat. He told the volunteers about our situation, so we waited about 20 minutes until the bus was half full and then we left. That was pretty cool of them. Also, the bus driver knew the circumstances, so he drove pretty fast to get us back. we arrived about 45 minutes before the event start, so we shared a cab, and I made it through the walk from the drop off to the stadium, through the security checkpoint, and to my seat about 10 minutes before the event start. Pretty good timing!!

    The event itself was so much fun. This is my 7th Olympics (3rd winter) and I have to say that short track is one of the best sports to watch, winter or summer. I had pretty good seats at the end on the lower level near what was to be known later as Korean Crash Corner. The event had a lot of qualification heats, so I'll review those first and then talk about the 1500 semis and finals. The women's 500 heats and the relay heats were definitely Chinese highlight reels. Wang Meng looks unbeatable in the 500m. Their relay team does as well. I know that there's no such thing as a lock in short track, but those two events for China are probably as close as it gets. The one big upset was that Zhao of China didn't advance in the last heat after she almost face planted. In the women's relay heats, the USA had a nail biter as they fell way behind the Dutch but had enough laps left to catch them to qualify for the finals.

    Every race, the crowd was really into it. The races with the Canadians were extra loud. Also Apolo pretty much confirmed that he is the USA's rock star at these games. I sat pretty close to a huge "soul patch" contingent of Americans. Women with beards.... Needless to say the "patchies" made it on the video board during one of the ice resurfacing breaks. The seeding for the 1500m semis were pretty uneven. the first heat had Ohno, Hamelin, and Lee Jung-Su, numbers 5, 2, and 1 in the world. Needless to say, a serious medal threat was going home after this race. Unfortunately for Canada, it was Hamelin. The second semi had Olivier Jean going down. It was obvious he had been taken down, but the results on the scoreboard showed that he had not been advanced, so I thought he had been robbed big time. It turns out he did get advanced, so they got it right in the end. In heat 3, I think Celski had the best draw, and he didn't have much problem advancing behind Sung of Korea.

    The final was unbelievable. Unlike most races. Ohno stayed near the front, which he pretty much had to becuase of three Koreans in the race. He was in good position with two laps to go, sitting in second. He tried to make one of his signature passes in the curve coming toward me and he made contact and lost his momentum. I remember thinking at that point he was toast and sure enough, the other two Koreans passed him in the final home stretch with one laps to go. It was a totally done deal with the 3 Koreans coming around the last turn on the final lap. Then, Lee Ho-Suk made his ridiculous pass attempt and took out himself and Sung. I would hate to be him going into the next team meeting. Better get out the teflon underwear. Well, we all know how it finshed with Ohno getting silver and Celski bronze. I honestly didn't pay much attention to Celski during the last 3 laps, so that was a fortuitous result for him.

    I have to say that having a 7-man 1500m final with the top skaters in the world is too crowded, but that's my opinion. I was understandably pumped to see 2 American medals come from that race. Apolo is one of my favorite Olympians, and I think he's going to get that 7th medal later. As far as the general observations, the crowd was electric. The venue is in pretty good shape. (Really nice compared to the metal bleachers in the mountains). I have a ticket for that last night of short track, so I'm really looking forward to that night.

    Next blog entry will be about the men's moguls. I'm sure that event will be totally unmemorable. Heh heh.

  2. Yes, I was 1 of 4000 SOL today for men's snowboard cross. At least I saw the announcement last night and didn't waste my time going to Lonsdale Quay. It's a bummer, but it would have been miserable standing in a slush bog for 5+ hours. Can't blame the organizers for this one. Hope they can fix it for the halfpipe. I have tickets for women's snowboard cross tomorrow, and fortunately I have seats in the stands.

  3. After the ski jump, I had a ticket for the women's 7.5k biathlon. I also had a short track ticket, so I was concerned about the connection time. I was considering blowing off the biathlon, but once I was up there, it was an easy decsion to make. So up to the biathlon course it was. My plan was to make tracks after the event to get one of the first buses back to Lonsdale Quay. The category A tickets are a big deal for this event. The standing room is inferior if you really want to follow the race. When I got there I noticed that all of the big names were in the top 60, so I decided that I would leave when they all finished to catch the bus. The sprint event is the least spectator friendly becuase they go off at 30 second intervals. The announcer did a fantastic job becuase you have to keep track of multiple time interval check points as well as the shooting range. It's like watching a 3-ring circus out there. Honestly, to really keep track of the race they would need about 5 different scoreboards. It must be pretty tough being the scoreboard video director. Overall, it was a pretty good event. The shooting range is so key in the sprint. In the end there were a lot of surprises. Unbelieveably, the gold and silver medalists each missed a target. That's usually a death sentence, so they must have skiied their brains out. At the point it was pretty much decided, I left a little early to get the bus, which turned out to be a little premature, because the buses have to fill before they leave.

    So, I'll have to review the short track tonight becuase it's time to head to Cypress for the men's moguls. Until then enjoy today's action. GO USA!!!!!!!!!! Go Canada go!

  4. The five ring fever is raging right now. What a blast I'm having. The first full day of competttion was epic, baby! I got up again at 430. That hurt a lot. My first event was at Olympic Park for the ski jumping, so it was back to BCIT to catch the bus. They did check my parking pass this time. The volunteers were passing out free hot chocolatte, snacks, and newspapers so that was a nice touch. I would say that they were a lot more organized than the day before. It went quite smoothly. From bus to drop off was 2 hours (and a chance for me to snooze), and another 30 minutes to pass through security and do the 1 km hike to the stadium. I will say that the security checks have been extremely quick so far at the events I've attended.

    So, I wrote in my blog last time that the ski jump qualification event was pretty dull. The finals, however, are a totally different story. The first round has 51 jumpers and the second round was pared to the top 30. There is plenty of time for the suspense to build by the time the big guns take their jumps. When someone puts a big one out past the HS marker the crowd goes nuts. When Simon Ammann put one out there in the first round, the crowd was roaring. The build-up during final jump was pretty electric starting with about 10 jumpers to go. Schlierenzauer got it started off. He had a pretty disappointing first round jump. His second jump hit the stratosphere, however. That got the crowd going. The last three jumpers came up. The Polish fans were a section over from me and they were pretty crazy. Malasz was in third after the first jump, and he launched big time in the second round. Not as far as Schlierenzauer, but enough to climb ahead. The Poles went totally bonkers. That's one of the reasons that experiencing the games live is different from watching it on the tube. You find yourself soaked up in the atmosphere of the collective crowd. Back to the event, the German in second place after the first round (Uhrmann) had a pretty mediocre second jump. So, it was up to Ammann and he delivered an absolutely off the charts monster jump. The crowd totally erupted. What a performance. He was hands down the best jumper out there. So, in my predictitions in my last blog entry were pretty good. I picked the gold and bronze medals right. I just didn't get Malasz, but I was really happy for him. I don't want my blog entries to be too long, so I'll pick up the rest of my day in the next entry.

  5. Well, it was a long day. I went to the ski jumping qualification at Olympic Park this morning. Got up at 4:30AM to catch my 6:00 bus from BCIT. They didn't bother to check for my parking pass and just took my bus pass without scanning the bar code. Departure time didn't seem to matter either. There was no wait to get on the bus, so off we went. There was a handicapped woman on our bus and they assured her at BCIT that the bus would drop her off close to the entrance. Of course, the folks at Olympic Park wouldn't let the bus get close, so she got dropped off with the rest of us. They need to get that crap straightened out soon.

    I whizzed through security and hoofed it to the ski jump (about 15 minute slushy walk, slightly uphill). I got to the venue at 8:30, which was about 2.5 hours from when the bus left. Not bad. I had standing seats, which actually get you much closer to the hill than the catergory A seats. The event itself, to be honest, was kind of dull. They whittled the field fron 61 to 50 for tomorrow's final. Not much tension in the air there. The top 10 in the world were pre-qualified already, so they didn't even get style points awarded for their jumps. The weather turned out to be quite nice. My money tomorrow is on the top 3 going in based upon what I saw today.

    I'll go with:

    Amman

    Morgenstern

    Schlierenzauer

    Getting out after the event was a little chaotic. The buses back were kind of tardy and conflicting direction was flowing freely. It's pretty typical, though, for any Olympics. The whole system is a learning experience, but I think they'll have things running smooth shortly. I got back to BCIT about 2 hours, 45 minutes after the event ended, so that's still pretty good time.

    Then, I had the big enchilada == the opening ceremonies. Our kits were a cardboard drum with a bunch of stuff in it. The best part was the drum. I'm listening to NBC's delayed broadcast of the ceremonies as I type this. I have to say, we sounded pretty good on TV with those drums. I know I beat the crap out of mine. The audience participation was a mixed bag. The stuff we practiced, we did well. The stuff that they only gave us verbal instructions for, well, that didn't exactly go off as planned. Not that it really mattered.

    The two big moments for me- Georgia coming in during the parade of nations. By far the most emotional moment of the night. Second, seeing the Great One waiting for the flame. One of my favorite all time athletes. Overall, I think they did a really good job of staying true to Canada's roots. So, well done, Vancouver.

    Tomorrow it's back to the ski jump for the finals. Then I have tickets for biathlon and short track. I do have a bit of a dileema becuase there's about 3 hours from the end of biathlon to the start of short track. That's cutting it pretty tight, so I might miss some of the early short track prelims. Oh well, a good kind of dilemma.

    Off to bed now because that alarm is going off way too early tomorrow.

  6. Hi! Welcome to my Olympic blog!!

    I got into Vancouver Tuesday, which was a day earlier than planned. I had to beat a major blizzard that was bearing down on the Baltimore/Washington area. I felt like a contestant on the Amazing Race there for a while, trying to move my flights around. Anyway, here I am. So, what can you expect from this blog? First and foremost, event coverage. I have a boatload of events that I'm planning to attend, so I'll try to capture some of the observations that may not be apparent to those watching the events on television. I'll also talk about the logistics of getting to events-- transportation, security, and the venues themselves. Hopefully, I can drop some tips for those of you who will be attending events later on.

    So, today I ventured downtown via the Expo line of the Sky Train. It was pretty easy to get to the Scott Road station, and there are a ton of parking spaces there. My first stop was to find Robson Square to pick up a few tickets that I bought in the fan-to-fan exchange. The wait was about 45 minutes, but there was a guy nearby who performed a strait jacket escape and followed it up by crawling into a big-ass inflated balloon. Well, it was cheesy, but at least it was free and helped pass the time in line.

    So, next on the list was to replace the binoculars that I left on my couch back home in my haste to pack and get to the airport when I moved my flight by a day. There is a Sears right off of Robson Square, so I checked it out, and it was here that I had my defining Canada moment to this point. There were only a couple pairs of fairly expensive binoculars in the store. The saleswoman pointed out that there was another store across the street that would probably have some more choices. I can tell you right now that there's no way that would ever happen in Baltimore or D.C. I still don't quite know what to make of an honest salesperson. Shocking.

    All of this was punctuated by a great meal at a Thai restaurant called Khai.

    Tomorrow I will head back downtown and try to see what this SeaBus is all about. I'll probably also take a jaunt on the Canada line and see if I can find some good Chinese food. Then, it's time to get serious. My first events are on Friday-- ski jumping qualifying and the opening ceremony. That's all for now!

  7. For those of you much more familiar with the SkyTrain, if you could answer a question for me, that would be great.

    A friend and I are thinking of coming up from Seattle for hockey during the second week. The plan is to park at one of the P&R lots in Surrey, probably Scott Road but could be one of the others, then taking the SkyTrain into downtown and back. Does that P&R usually get pretty full just from normal rush hour? And how late will that line be running?

    I'll probably be using the Scott Road park and ride starting next week a fair amount because I'm staying in Surrey. I'll let you know what I encounter although I'll generally be getting there in the morning. The Expo SkyTrain line runs really late, 2:16 AM from Feb. 12-28 for the last train from downtown:

    http://tripplanning.translink.ca/hiwire?.a=iScheduleLookupSearch&LineName=999&LineAbbr=999

  8. While it is true scalpers can apply en-masse for tickets their chances of getting premium tickets are the same as yours - also Vancouver has the new policy of charging immediately as your tickets are confirmed - meaning scalpers run the risk of getting hundreds of biathlon tickets they will have troubles shifting. At least with Beijing through CoSport you got an initial offer of tickets - you could then decide which if any you wanted to keep and then they charged you for what you agree to use.

    In regards to this current arrangement - I'm in Australia. I am not going to fly all the way to Vancouver if all I get is one curling and one ice hockey ticket. I'm going to want at least a few days full of events to make it worth the considerable expense. Unfortunately in this instance I will get whatever I get and get charged either way - meaning if I only get 2 tickets they will be unused. On the plus side it loks like Australia did get a fair allocation this time around after the Beijing f*ck up.

    It makes far more sense to me to let the buyer know what they are offered first and then give them the choice of what they want to keep or pass up. Sure that means a lot of undesirable sport tickets will be put back in the pool - but there appears to be no shortage of Canadians willing to see anything they can get in to.

    I hope London 2012 does a better job looking after the foreign allotments.

    I still think that requiring folks to put the money up front before the ticket allocation discourages applicants who really have no intention of attending-- resulting in better odds for those who do. I'm not ruling out going now, but I'm not sure I want to scramble for tickets like I did for Beijing.

    At any rate, hope your luck is better than mine.

  9. I got my notification today. I applied for 48 tickets total (24 events) and got 4 hockey games:

    IH030 (2)

    IH032 (2)

    IH042 (2)

    IH043 (2)

    :(

    Needless to say, I'm extremely bummed. When Cartan used to distribute the tickets, you actually had to put money up front. I think that discouraged a lot of the scalpers. Now anyone interested in turning a profit can apply without committing a dime. I thought Beijing was tough. This is ridiculous.

  10. If you will be in Beijing for the Games, post a note here - tell us what events you will see and what you thought when you saw them. Be our iReporters, perhaps we'll include your experience in an article on the main site.

    I arrived in Beijing yesterday. Swung down to CoSport to pick up some tickets today and then hit the Forbidden City. I've got a full plate of events during the games, so I'd be happy to share some of my experiences.

  11. I'll be spending some mealtimes in and around the venues (mostly Olympic Green area). Does anyone know what kind of food services they'll have at the Olympic Green?

    I know McDonald's is the major restaurant sponsor, but I'd rather not spend more than one quick lunch there. I read that the lobby of the Bird's nest has restaurants, but don't know anything past that.

    Whatever they serve, plan on being really sick of it by the end of the Games. (Spinach pie from Athens, anyone?) My recommendation is to grab a real meal when you have the chance. If you do find yourself with some down time at the Olympic Green between events and have to succumb to the McDonald's stir fry, you can probably find a big screen somewhere that will be showing live events coverage. It makes your processed meal a little more palatable.

  12. Speaking of NBC, does anyone know how to get a copy of their insider's guide? I found one on eBay (I'll post the link below) but with the coupons and everything like that in it, I would think they could be obtained free somewhere. Anybody have a tip?

    eBay link: http://cgi.ebay.com/BEIJING-2008-OLYMPIC-G...1QQcmdZViewItem

    I found one taped to a roasted chicken that I bought from Safeway (all right, the container not the actual bird). I wouldn't recommend paying for one. And just in case you might care, the chicken was quite delicious.

  13. Yes. Not only crack down but actively looking for, at least in the immediate vicinity of the venues. At the most recent test events I went to, they were using undercover police to watch for scalping transactions as well as not permitting sellers to hawk their wares. There were reports of an odd foreigner (mostly expats) here or there getting nabbed buying tickets--nothing permanent happened to them and as far as I've heard, their money was returned, but they were escorted (taken) to the closest police station to "make a statement" against the scalper...and missed attending their desired events.

    Interesting. I guess it's best to arrive with your tickets in hand. I'm not really interested in the "cultural experience" of a trip to a Beijing police station.

  14. If it's like any of the other Olympics I've attended, they let anyone buy whatever tickets are available right before and during the games, and those tickets are the same style as the locally-bought tickets. I can't imagine they would quibble about who had what style of ticket. I do wonder, however, if the Chinese are going to crack down on scalpers at the venues. I've met some people who never buy tickets ahead of time and always get them at the games. I wouldn't necessarily rely on this tactic for Beijing.

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