Tag Archives: olympic

Sears Stars on Ice

I have watched figure skating on TV during the Olympic games, but it is the first time I am watching live figure skating. Olympic figure skating ticket is too expensive, Sears Stars on Ice features Olympic figure skaters, like Joanna Rochette, and a it only cost $45. The skaters seems more relax in the show than in the competition. I suspect they are saving their best for the competition and I only get to see the safe moves.

I never watched figure skate seriously, I have only watched the highlight on TV. Watching a live show confirmed my belief that figure skating is boring. The first few skaters are fun to watch, but soon the novelty wears off. The movements of all skaters are more or less the same, they are just jumps, turns, spins, throws in different sequence. Watched one pretty much watched them all. The most noticeable difference among the skaters is some of them screwed up the landing and lost their balance. Figure skating is so boring that I slept thought the second half of the show.

Sports, like figure skating, with no objective measure of winners and losers are usually boring. It relies on subjective measurements like aesthetic appeal of the judges to determine the outcome, so you don’t get any excitement out of competition. In sports with objective measure, it is easy to understand the athletes, as their action are directly related to winning the game. However in sports without objective measure, the athletes’ actions do not have obvious purpose and the sport lost its meaning, thus it is boring.

My Olympic Experience

I did not welcome the Olympic Games in the beginning. I worried about the tourist flooding the city and curse the Olympics cuts my ski season shorts. I never watch much Olympic Games, not even the 2008 Beijing Olympic. Before February 16, it seems Olympics is none of my business.

It turns out the Olympic Games is a huge success and somehow I caught the Olympic fever. I was glued to TV every night watching events highlights, cheering for Canadian (and Chinese) athletes. All those winter sports seems so boring in the past to watch suddenly becomes interesting. When a Canadian is fighting for a place in the podium, tense atmosphere got me and I shared the excitement. I watched Olympics with colleagues in the cafeteria at work during lunch. For some high stake events, I slack off a bit and watched the CTV online broadcast in the afternoon using my laptop while trying to get some work done at the background. We even book a meeting room to watch preliminary hockey games together when the Canadian team is playing.

The city is full of Olympic spirit and the Games indeed brings people closer with each other. I went to downtown twice to experience the Olympic events. I lined up for 5 hours just to hold the gold medal. Everyone in the city becomes more friendly and open. Strangers whom don’t look at each other in normal days now talks to each other. The Olympic seems universal catalyst to begin a conversation. Everyone has something to say about the Games.

I watched the hockey semi-final and final at a local pub. I wanted to watch it in downtown with the crowd in front of the big TV but I am turned off by the traffic and long line up. The hockey game connects everyone in the pub together. People smile at each others’ Canada goodies and we make waves during game. When there are a full room of people cheering for the same team with me, I really feel like Canada is where I belong. The mood of the whole pub is controlled by what is happening in the TV. When Canada is leading 2-0, we are all yelling and cheering. When the US tie Canada 20 seconds before the end of game, everyone is dead silence. When Crosby score the golden goal, everyone gets loud and give high fives to anyone. It’s a weird scene that the whole pub sing O Canada after we won the game full of enjoyment.

We have spent $1.67 billion to host the Olympic Games, we won’t know whether we can will break even or not. However, Canada won 13 gold medals and 25 medals in total and we gave the world a really good show. I don’t the Economical return of the Games, but it definitely raise the morale of the country and united the Canadian identity. Regardless of your background, your colour, everyone in Canada is together with Team Canada striving to win the hockey game. This is the most watched hockey game ever in Canada history, probably in the world too.

Olympic gold medal

How far is an Olympic gold medal? To the athletes, it’s thousands of hours of training and many years of hard work. To me, it’s 6 hours standing in line. In the past, normal people can only see the medal on TV or behind display cases unless you happen to know a medalist. For the first time in the Olympic history, the public are allow to touch and hold an Olympic medal. The Royal Mint of Canada pavilion is probably the best free attraction in this Olympic game and always have the longest line up. Other pavilions are either tourist show case from other countries or advertisement in disguise of the corporate sponsors. The Mint gives you a once in a life chance to hold the Olympic medals, so it is a must see.

The line up is very very long. The pavilion opens at 9:00a, but when we arrive at 8:30a the line up is already one block away. I was told the person at the head of line was waiting there since 6:00a. The line is moving very slow because they only let 20 people into the medal room every 10 minutes. Since everyone in line has the Olympic mood and start chatting with each other. For the next 5 hours, I talked with two grannies, two young guys living on the West side, a mother with 2 teenage kids, a couple from HK and a lady with her dad. It is pretty interesting to hear different perspectives about the Olympic and Vancouver. It is the longest wait I ever have. I never know I can be this patient. Luckily, we can take turns go to the washroom and get coffee from the near by Starbucks. To my surprise, all the strangers I talked to are local Vancouver folks, except one family from White Rock, which is only 2 hours drive away. I wonder where all the tourist is. Maybe they are too busy watching the games and don’t bother lining up for the free shows.

The medals definitely worth the long wait. We are allow to pick up the medals, see it up close and take as many photos as we like. They give out white gloves and can only touch it with our glove hand. But we are not allow to pose any V sign nor allow to bite the medal like the athletes. There is an engineers from the Mint today to give us a brief talk about the making of the medals and answer all the weird questions. The Olympic medal is round in shape and the Paralympic medal is slightly square. The Paralympic medal has braille dots on the back for the blind athletes. The medal is heavier than I expected, each piece weight about 0.5kg. I am not going to repeat the information about the medals here. To know more about the medal, please visit mint.ca.

Other than the Olympic medals, the Mint pavilion has other cool stuff to see. There is a $1 million dollar coin made in pure gold in display. It looks like a giant loonie except the face value has 6 more zeros after the one. We can also lift up 400oz gold bar. It is exactly like the gold bars I always see in those bank robbery movies. I can feel how much half million dollars worth of pure gold weight. It’s very heavy. I had never hold something such valuable with my hand. Too bad that the gold bar is chained and guarded by armed policemen. I really want to take it home.

My legs and back is soared when we left the Mint pavilion. Originally I planned to visit three different pavilions today, but after the Mint, I have to call it a day. I am sure I will have a sweet dream about golds in my hand tonight.

Say NO to the Olympic

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic games is only 8 days away. I don’t feel particularly exciting about the Olympic although I am living in the hosting city. Here are my top ten reasons why I don’t like Vancouver hosting the Olympic.

  1. None of the Winter Olympic events is interesting, except Ice Hockey
  2. I could not get any Olympic tickets, so it makes no difference to me whether or not it is in Vancouver. I am watching it on TV anways
  3. Millions of tourists comes to town disturb my normal life. It is a lot harder to make restaurant reservations and everything cost more during the Olympic
  4. The road closure in the city makes rush hour traffic across the city a nightmare.
  5. The Canadian team uniform really ugly. Roots definitely have better designers than The Bay.
  6. The Olympic will blow a black hole in the city’s budget. Prepare for tax raise after the Games
  7. Most of the Olympic events are held during the day when I am at work. My productivity would greatly suffer during that two weeks
  8. The Olympic mascots does not make sense and there are four of them. Why don’t they simply use a beaver or a Canadian moose
  9. The Sea to Sky Highway only got a half-ass upgrade. It should have 4 lanes all the way from Vancouver to Whistler and bypass all the traffic lights in Squamish
  10. and most important of all,

  11. The Sea to Sky Highway is closed during the Games and no one can drive to Whistler. Olympic interrupts my ski season!

Richmond Olympic Oval

Richmond Oylmpic Oval

Can you imagine yourself being an Olympic athlete? I almost feel like one when I am skating on the Olympic speed skating arena. It is less than 1 year from the 2010 Winter Olympic in Vancouver The brand new $200 million Richmond Olympic Oval is open to the public starting earlier this month. A day pass costs $12.5 but Pat got some free coupons from her friend.

The Oval is the largest ice rink I have ever seen, about twice the size of a standard hockey rink. The rink has a 200m long oval shape skate race track. The center area in the rink is converted to basketball court and badminton court. The spectator area in the balcony is converted to a open gym with exercise equipments overlooking the ice. There was a big crowd tonight. I bet most people use free coupons just like I do. Although there are lots people, it is not that crowd when they are spreading out on the ice.

Skating in a speed race oval is a very different experience than in a hockey rink. In a hockey rink people skate in all direction. In the oval everyone has to go counter clockwise. In a hockey rink, I can’t go very fast or I will end up hitting the wall soon. In the oval, I can pick up lots of speed in the long race track. I can accelerate in the straight road, but I don’t have to slow down for the turns. The turns at two ends are so gentle that I can keep my speed. I never skate that fast before. I hit my speed limit of my current skill level. I feel I couldn’t go any faster without losing my balance. I don’t even know skating can be a cardio exercise. Skating in the oval make me feel like I am running in laps.

The free pass expire next week. For those who are interested, you can download it form here. Skating in a speed oval is definitely one of the must do things in your adventure check list.

Olympic Opening

August 8th, 2008 is the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games.  Due to the time zone difference, the opening starts at 5a.m. Vancouver time.  I am too lazy to get up in the morning to watch the opening show.  I heard from friends and news that the show is really great through out the day.  So after I got home, I go to youtube to see what have I missed.  I don’t know it is because I have too much expectation from the word of mouths, not watching it live, watching a 2″ video or the combination of the above.  I am not impressed by the opening show at all.

The firework is pretty cool, the LCD scroll is pretty neat, but the rest is quite cheesy.  The show is quite repetitive, every chapter is more or less the same, thousands of people doing some routine act together in synchronize steps.  No dispute that those volunteers spent lots of time to practice for tonight’s show.  I admire their effort but I also laugh at their stupidity.  Routine tasks are best done by robots.  It make no sense for thousands of people wasting time to practice for a show.  It would be more efficient to build a thousand robots to perform the act.  You don’t need any practice, you just have to upload the same software to every robot and you are guarantee to have a perfect synchronize show.