An Olympic look back

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Four years have rushed by and it’s the Olympics again. I worked behind the scenes at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic/Paralympic Winter Games and enjoyed both the work and the atmosphere. Today, I’m taking a look back.

Olympic uniform.

Me in my Olympic/Paralympic work uniform – on my way to work.

Posted in Whistler, I was the Nordic sport writer for the Olympic News Service and Paralympic News Service. I didn’t care for the term we VANOC (Vancouver Organizing Committee) employees were given because of our blue uniforms – “Smurfs.” It wasn’t an endearing nickname although now I admit, it’s kind of funny.

Journalists in a room.

Journalists at the Nordic Media Centre in Whistler during the Olympics.

My job was to write stories about cross-country skiing and Nordic combined for the international journalists. (Nordic combined is an event that has athletes participate in a cross-county ski race in the morning and then a ski jumping competition in the afternoon.) Some reporters were new to winter sports and needed help understanding who was on the podium, who wasn’t and why. I told them.

Spectators watching ski jumping competition at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Ski jumping competition at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

We were right on site in Callaghan Valley were cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, biathlon and ski jumping events were happening. When I had a break, I got to watch some of the competition. Women will be skiing jumping in PyeongChang for the second time in Olympic history. Jason Myslicki was the lone Canadian at the 2010 Olympics in Nordic combined but won’t be in South Korea. His story of how he trained for Vancouver is a testament to the tenacity of Olympians. He basically relied on handouts and the generosity of other teams. (Read ‘Homeless’ Olympian relies on well-wishers.)

Part of the cross-country ski course at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Part of the cross-country ski course at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Cross-country skiing in 2010 saw Dario Cologna (Switzerland), Petter Northug (Norway) and Marcus Hellner (Sweden) as gold medalists. Charlotte Kalla (Sweden), Marit Bjorgen (Norway) and Justyna Kowalczyk (Poland) were also gold medalists. You will see some of these names in PyeongChang. Canadians who raced in Vancouver and who are going to South Korea include Alex Harvey and Devon Kershaw.

Swiss flag.

Reuniting friends and a flag in Zurich.

While working in Whistler, I lived with five women from around the world. One roommate and friend from Switzerland gave me a Swiss flag and a request to reunite it before the 2014 Sochi Olympic/Paralympic Winter Games. A month before the Sochi Games, I got the chance. Read my blog piece here.

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