Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Alas, it was not meant to be. The Alpine events for Sunday were canceled in anticipation of bad weather. The only tickets left were Cross Country Skiing. We had seen Olympic Cross Country Skiing, and although we weren't as excited to be going back to the last venue we had been at, we were happy to at least be going to see something.
The Paralympics were much more relaxed. We could drive to the venue since the Sea to Sky highway was opened to regular traffic once the Olympics left town. From the parking lot, we were taken on a short shuttle bus ride from the parking lot to the entrance. There was no security. Our tickets were scanned, and we walked through to begin our climb to the venue.
There was a good crowd with flags from Norway to Mongolia. It was a good atmosphere.
Once there all of my enthusiasm returned. I was so inspired and in awe of these athletes. By the end of the day I was perhaps more in awe of these athletes than the Olympic athletes simply because they are competing with a disability. Imagine being blind and skiing with the help of a guide ahead of you. Imagine skiing with no poles, or having to rely on your upper body strength to climb a hill while on skis. I found it very moving to see these athletes perform at this world class event.
In this picture you can see that the Olympic rings have been covered over, and the Paralympic symbol with the three "agitos" (latin for "I move") replaced the Olympics symbols.
Even the Aussie's inflatable kangaroo was in the warming tent at one point. I think everyone made a trip there at some point during the day.
We probably lasted as long as we did because of the warming tent, and we were pretty well dressed for the weather, but clearly not dressed well enough (I could have worn my long underwear, for example). However, I saw some young girls there who were horribly dressed. One girl was wearing a mini-skirt with leggings and some flimsy looking boots. She had no hat or gloves that I could see. Ah kids. At least she had her phone to message her friends about how cold she probably was.
They did have to be moved off the course though because another event was already underway, and soon skiers would be entering the stadium.
Here's Brian McKeever warming up before his event.
Many skiers jogged near the start gate before their event.
I wish we had stayed for the medal presentation, but the weather got the better of us, and had worn us down. After their medal win, we headed home.
I have some more shaky video of the sprint to the finish for the McKeevers. I'll have to post it. I stopped my camera before they crossed the finish line though because I forgot all about the camera, and wanted to watch them finish. I'm not the best when it comes to sport video since my enthusiasm tends to get the better of me.
I think I'm a bigger fan of the Paralympics now than I am of the Olympics. It was frustrating to not be able to see much of it on t.v. Maybe next time the networks will get it right, and give the Paralympics the coverage it deserves, and has earned. Or maybe next time I'll stick to watching what I can on-line.