Tag Archives: olympics

Moving into Anni Friesinger’s Old Room in the Olympic Village

Since we announced we were moving into the Olympic Village, a lot of people have asked me “do you know which athlete lived in your unit during the Olympics?” I sure do. Sexy German speed skater Anni Friesinger was the former occupant of our suite.

How do I know? I did some sleuthing and discovered that 122 Walter Hardwick was occupied by Team Germany during the Olympics. Most of the German medal winners were staying up at Whistler, but the hockey team, speed skaters, figure skaters, and curlers were all in Vancouver.
Team Germany Has Arrived at Vancouver 2010 Olympic Village South and Is Expected to Win Most of the Medals

Now, I have no proof that Anni stayed in our unit, but until I find a name scratched into the wall or a stray hair that I can analyze for DNA, I’m going to just assume our unit was occupied by either Anni Friesinger or Andy Kapp, skip of the German curling team.
Photo by ygx

In all seriousness, I’m a bit surprised that more isn’t done to advertise the Olympic Village as the former home of Olympians. The two towers that were once full of Canadian athletes is now branded Canada House, but otherwise there aren’t any references left to the athletes who once resided in the units. Maybe it’s a privacy issue.

If anyone is trying to determine which athletes may have lived in a specific Olympic Village building, I’ve created this handy guide.
Continue reading Moving into Anni Friesinger’s Old Room in the Olympic Village

Good-Bye World – Sorry About the Music

When it comes to music talent, Canada has an embarrassment of riches. It’s too bad the Olympic closing ceremonies were just an embarrassment. Avril Lavigne, Alanis Morissette, Simple Plan, and Nickelback? Which hosehead chose that lineup?

If I was the artistic director, these are the 10 songs I would have chosen to highlight Canadian music:

The athletes would have entered the stadium while K’Naan sang Wavin’ Flag.

The solute to the Canadian athletes would have included a video montage of the medallists and the song Gold Rush by Basia Bulat.

The Canadiana portion of the program would have featured:
Tournament Of Hearts – The Weakerthans
The Hockey Song – Stompin’ Tom Connors
Maple Leaf Forever – Michael Buble – The best song in the closing ceremonies. I really liked the dancing mounties (especially the female ones), lumber jacks, and giant beavers.

I would have introduced the Russian Sochi 2014 committee with Gimme Sympathy by Metric. This could also be used to shut down the torch – with no disrespect to Mr. Neil Young.

The dance portion of the evening would have had the athletes rocking out to Feist – 1 2 3 4, Hannah Georgas – The Beat Stuff, Tegan and Sara – Arrow, and Numero# – Tonton Klaxonne.

And as everyone filed out of the stadium, they would have been serenaded by local band Said the Whale singing Out on the Shield – the best anthem for the games.

Olympics: Out with a Bang

What an amazing last day to the Olympics. The hockey game was a real thriller. We watched the game in Yaletown, and after it ended the city just went nuts. We wandered down to Granville and Robson where the mob was congregating. It was a real zoo. I’ve never seen so many maple leafs and giddy Canadians. When we made it to Granville and Robson, the crowd was so think you couldn’t walk anymore. You just got pushed along, completely at the mercy of the crowd. It was slightly frightening, and the group I was with had to escape to find some breathing room.

Granville and Robson  Basking in Victory  Welcome to Canada  Maple Leaf Forever

Jumping on the Olympic Bandwagon

A few days of sun has brightened my opinion toward the Olympics. That and some rocking music, crazy crowds, and exciting curling.

On Friday night we tried to get into the German Fun House but only made it into the waiting pen where we could drink $9 German beers in a parking lot. After that we ended up in a pub and then wandered through downtown where hordes of drunken teens were partying it up. It was a crazy crowd. I saw someone burning an American flag, two young Indian drummers start a spontaneous dance party, and lots of Canadian pride on display.

Saturday, Emily, Steph, and I ventured down to Surrey to check out there Olympic Celebration site. I was a bit worried when we had to wait for 30 minutes to board a SkyTrain, but once we escaped the Vancouver Olympic crowds it was smooth sailing. We didn’t have to wait at all to enter the Surrey site. No lineups! It was a breath of fresh air, and there were lots of fun Surrey sporting activities like plywood curling and plastic sheet skating. All kidding aside, it was a great site. The concert was awesome – Said the Whale and Mother Mother put on fantastic sets.

On Sunday I had tickets to see Women’s curling and the ladies didn’t disappoint. China beat Canada in an extra end – Canada’s only round robin loss. It was an excellent match and the crowd was loud.

Monday, Emily and I stopped in to the Yaletown site to see Jill Barber. She didn’t garner the crowds that Deadmau5 did last week or I’m sure Girl Talk will this Friday, but it was still a good show.

And then today at work there was a surprise Scavenger Hunt, like a Waterloo Scunt but while getting paid. We raced around downtown in teams getting pictures of us doing crazy Olympic stunts. It’s amazing what people will let you do if you tell them your on a scavenger hunt and just need a quick picture. The festive Olympic atmosphere helps too.

It Can Only GetĀ Better

Yaletown Live SiteWe never meant to stay here
We were here for the gold
Here for the gold
Here for the gold
Out on the Shield – Said the Whale

Glad to see I’m not the only who feels slightly embarrassed by the Olympics so far. First someone dies, then the torch malfunctions, weather cancelled half of the weekend events, the speed skating zamboni is malfunctioning, and the Black Bloc smashed the Bay windows. I’m sure the average tourist could care less, and I’m just being an overanxious host, but still I’m embarrassed. But we won GOLD so it’s all good … right?

Vancouver is an amazing city, it’s just not a good tourist city. There aren’t a lot of showy attractions. I see hundreds of people line up every day to get into the Bay to buy Quatchi dolls and red mittens, as if there is nothing else to do. People are lining up for 6 hours for a 30 second zip-trek ride over Robson Square.

I went to the Yaletown Live site on Saturday night. Lined up for 30 minutes, went through airport-style security, and got to see Wilco perform under a haze of pot smoke. My friends couldn’t get in because they showed up at 8 pm and by then the site was at capacity, a measly 8000 people. Most of the space was taken up by giant exhibitions for Olympic sponsors. Later this week I’ll check out some of the other pavilions and concerts. Hopefully the lineups aren’t too bad.

Maybe once the curling and men’s hockey events get going things will start to get better.

Olympics: Bigger, Badder

The Olympics are almost upon us in Vancouver. The city is starting to get transformed and there is a buzz. There’s a lot of pieces I’m excited about and a few I’m dreading.

Excited: Venue Energy TrackerPulse Energy has partnered with VANOC, BC Hydro and many of the venues to monitor their energy usage during the games. Want to know how much energy the speed skating oval is using? Or the snow making equipment at Whistler? It’s all available at the Venue Energy Tracker. It is a good feeling being proud of the work you do and having it showcased on such a large stage.

Excited: Concerts and Shows – There are free concerts during the games downtown and in Yaletown (hosted by Live City Vancouver) featuring some really good bands. I definitely want to check out Coeur de Pirate, Mother Mother, Malajube, and Wintersleep. As part of the Cultural Olympiad, there are a lot of theatre productions and and other art installations throughout the city. Emily went to see the Joni Mitchell ballet last night, and we have tickets to see Nevermore and Best Before in the coming weeks.

Excited: Streetcar Demonstration – one the coolest projects setup for the games is a free streetcar line between the Olympic Village and Granville Island. The city has a great vision for building out a street car system throughout downtown Vancouver (see map). As with all major products, funding is an issue. However, I’d love to see this made a priority.

Excited: Sports – I’m eagerly waiting the start of the actual games. I only have tickets for one event – a Women’s curling draw featuring two fantastic matchups: Canada vs China and USA vs Sweden.

Disappointed: Public Transportation – There have been lots of recent improvements to transit – Canada Line, extra buses, SkyTrains, and a 3rd SeaBus. However, once the games is over a lot of the funding for public transit is set to disappear. The provincial government has refused to give transit stable funding, instead shovelling money into sprawl-inducing highway expansion programs (they should really read this Wired article: To Create Jobs, Build Public Transit, Not Highways). The 3rd sea bus will disappear after the games are over, and Translink will have to scale back many of its services.

Disappointed: Cycling – Vanoc has been pushing people to leave their cars at home and ride their bikes or take the bus during the games. And yet I’ve been really disappointed at how they’ve eroded cycling infrastructure around venues. My ride to work takes me past the Olympic Village and the hockey arena. The security zone fencing has taken away cycling lanes and forced cyclists into congested traffic or onto sidewalks with pedestrians (even though that is technically illegal). It’s scary for me, never mind someone who rarely cycles and is thinking of leaving their car behind during the games.

Disappointed: Budget Hangover – The real disappointment is set to hit once the party is over. The Olympic Hangover. Already we’re reading about layoffs for teachers, scaled back transit service, cancelled health care. It’s hard to swallow stories like 800 teachers losing their jobs because of a $30 million budget shortfall, when we’re spending billions on a sporting party. The security for the games alone will cost close to 1 billion. And yet we can’t find $30 million for education.