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Hi all. One more day at work and then I'm off to Vancouver. Very excited - cannot wait.

I'll be posting here when I can - and do post me messages through the PM system if you want. It would be good to hear from all my gamesbids friends during the games. I've got plenty of tickets, both in Whistler and Vancouver starting with that Opening Ceremony on Friday.

Take Care all!

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Impossible to describe this morning. Suffice to say Vancouver went Olympic crazy. Everybody out on the streets and mobbing the torch. Downtown Vancouver is really quite small compared to say London and as the torch crisscrossed the city you could hear the crowd cheer and see a glimpse of the torch as it passed between city blocks. People are coming out of their offices as the torch passes. The main street - granville I think - was totally packed and the atmosphere electric. First comes a bus with torchbearers waiting to be dropped off. Then music and sponsor trucks. Then bike policeman and finally 8 enormous horses before the final flame trucks and the flame itself. Very special. Everyone having a great time.

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Well I've just got back from the Olympic Ceremony. What a fantastic experience.

Olympic ceremonies are by their very nature cheesy, and it is hard to sustain an excitement for chessiness over a three hour period! So some bits were better than others - but the excitement of being there was awesome.

In some ways you always get a better - or closer - view from the TV. But the atmosphere you can't get at home, and you also get to see loads of stuff. For instance - I could tell within about 10 seconds there was a problem with the cauldron. It's such a shame as the cauldron idea was really really good. It still looked good in the end, but felt and looked slightly incomplete. The idea of turning the four host nation totems into the four pillars of the torch was great - the theme really carried through for me. Nice to see they have a replica outside cauldron, and I hope they get the inside one fixed for the victory ceremonies.

Some highlights

- The Projections. These were incredible - they've upped the game on this one, and it will be hard for future ceremonies to go back. An inside venue helped to pull it off. The whales coming across and blowing smoke were a particular highlight.

- Georgia entering the stadium. The whole stadium got up on our feet and cheered and shouted and banged our drums. It was VERY emotional.

- Canada entering the stadium - the only country to beat Georgia's welcome!

- GB entering the stadium - very exciting!

- The whole Maple Leaf segment - it was really well thought out and very exciting to watch.

- The lighting - and the build up. It was really great to see how much the Canadian crowd cheered for four real heroes.

- Everyone disregarding the instructions we spend 1 hour rehearsing before hand! Everyone waved their lights whenever they felt like it!

Very different to Beijing but it felt like less was more. There was a lovely theme to the whole event. Shame we couldn't see the final fireworks.

Everything up until now has been preparation for the main event. The Olympic flame is alight. Let the games, and the competition, begin!

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  • 3 weeks later...

So I'm back from the games - and I'm sorry I didn't post more often - iphone issues.

I will try and post some pictures here soon. What's the best way to load pictures onto gamesbids - can I do it from Flikr?

I had an amazing time and saw some great events. Highlights for me were the beautiful days in the middle of the games with the perfect weather, a float plane trip, capilano suspension bridge, skiing in whistler, Britain's gold in the skeleton (standing right next to Amy William's parents as they spoke on the phone to Amy via the BBC), three Short Track sessions (including the Canadian golds!), The Opening Ceremony, Ski Jumping and just enjoying a great city enjoying a great event. My first Olympics in Athens was great, but after Torino and Beijing, Vancouver's downtown atmosphere was fantastic!

Some final thoughts from me:

Best Winter Olympics Ever?

Okay, so the weather wasn't perfect, and there were some definite hiccups early on, but having been to a few Olympics this one stands out as having the best atmosphere. Canada were - for the first time it seemed - proud to be winners, and they welcomed us all with open arms. The venues had an electric atmopsphere, and the intimate downtown area was buzzing every hour ofthe day and night. Lillehammer in 1994 held the best winter Olympics ever, but Vancouver's has been the most special since then I think. I really enjoyed it anyway. Go Canada Go!

Closing Ceremony

I watched it this morning. Fantastic. So beautiful. The lighting of the Olympic Flame at the beginning by Katrina le May Doan more than made up for her missed moment in the Opening Ceremony. It was funny and really beautiful too. I loved it. Vancouver's ceremonies have been a brilliant bridge between Beijing and London. It set's us up nicely for two years time.

Sochi?

Going to Vancouver I wasn't sure I'd be going to Sochi in 2014. But spending two weeks in the Olympic City is intoxicating. Bring on 2014!

Pin Trading

Generally acknowledged to be a poor games for pin trading. The winters are always smaller than the summers with the number of pins produced. Nonetheless I did some good trading - and the trading venues were much better than Beijing!

Medal Predictions

I thought I'd go back to my predictions before the games and see how I did! For some reason the Canadians count overall medals not golds, so they are third in their medal table not top. They can believe that if they want, but I will be using the official IOC (and everywhere else in the world!) ranking system of golds counting before anything else.

This was the final Top 10 and my prediction for that position are in brackets afterwards.

1 CAN (CAN)

2 GER (GER)

3 USA (NOR)

4 NOR (USA)

5 KOR (AUT)

6 SUI (RUS)

7 CHN (KOR)

8 SWE (SUI)

9 AUT (FRA)

10 NED (SWE)

So I correctly predicted the Top 2 - I note that some people said I was optimistic about Canadian Chances - well they owned the podium alright! I also did well to predict Norway and USA in the next two positions (although I predicted Norway to beat the USA). Further down I've done less well. Austria and France had terrible games really, while Korea have branched out to win golds in sports other than Short Track. Switzerland had a very good games particularly in Alpine and Ski Jumping. China did well - although they'll have wanted to do better - and the Netherlands still dominate the speed skating oval - although they could have got a few more golds if they hadn't made some basic mistakes. Russia had the worst time of all finishing out of the Top 10 - the first time EVER they haven't finished in the Top 4. I thought they would have a poor games and predicted them in 6th, but 11th is appaling for them, and there will be questioned asked before the eyes of the world turn to Sochi in 2014.

Thank you

Thank you Vancouver, a beautiful city and a great games. You did Canada and the Olympics proud. Only 879 days to go until the next one.

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