Follow my journey as a Students Live reporter through the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

You just can't escape hockey.

It was a recipe for excitement! Canada vs. USA, rival teams with history that goes a long way back, Canadians playing on home soil, gold medal on the line, and ending up in overtime; I could feel my heart skipping beats.

For those who were not lucky enough to attend the game, there was much to do, with two LiveCity sites, Robson Square, local pubs and restaurants. But us Canadians, we'll do anything to have a view of the game. The Students Live crew were so desperate that we ended up watching the Game from Sony in Pacific Centre. It sounds kind of hilarious, but in the end it was fabulous, and we will all remember where we were on this defining moment in Canadian history.

I thought it was hilarious how every person who walked by this Sony was chuckling and then whipping out their cameras. This was a fairly small store, but not small in spirit, there must have been at least 200 people in the store. One of the employees there said she doesn't think they have this many people come into the store in the average week. Now this just proves that Canada will do anything for their hockey!

And out on the streets after the game, oh my gosh. It was a gong show, and the most proud moment of my life. Everyone was waving their flags as high as they could, except for the few Americans I saw who were taking the walk of shame. And everyone was belting out O'Canada, it was a feeling I will never forget. I will say, Canada does not have the most talented singers, but we make up for it in our hockey talent.

These past few weeks have been the best of my life, and I am not just saying that. Truly I will cherish these memories close to my heart. And what a day it was for every Canadian! I don't think words can describe the pride we have for our country, and the love for our National hero 'Sid the Kid'. We could not have asked for a better ending to these fabulous Olympic Games, a sweep of the hockey medals, Canadian women and men bringing home the gold.

Gold medal count: now at 14, the most golds ever won in a single Olympic Games by any country. Now if that title doesn't give you shivers, I don't know what would.

This was the bus team USA drove off on; notice the name of it.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Party Don't Stop

Day 17 of 18 in these Olympic Games have began, and I know that I am dreading tomorrow, I know that the Closing Ceremonies will be a hard thing to watch. These few weeks have been the best time of my life, filled with so much sport, culture, athletes, concerts and overall fun. It will be hard to see this great event come to an end, and knowing that the Olympic Games will most likely not be back to Vancouver, in my lifetime anyways.

But no need to worry, after tomorrow, we will have a one week break, and then the next chapter of the Games begin; the Paralympic Games. These begin on March 12th, and continue on until the 22nd. A lot of people forget about them, or just decide to leave them out, but they are so worth your time. Tickets are fairly cheep, and the sport is just so amazing!

So as sad as I will be tomorrow night, people don't seem to have to same feeling. Last night as I was walking down the streets of downtown, I was asking people what their feelings were about the Olympic Games coming to an end, and everyone seemed to be saying that the party will continue after the Olympic Games come to an end. The theme seemed to be that everyone was happy we got to experience the biggest worldwide event in our very own city, that we got to be a part of history and will remember this for the rest of our lives. We will be able to share our experiences with our children, and grandchildren, and for that, why should we be somber, we should be celebrating until the end, and even beyond! People were saying that before the Games, they hardly ever ventured downtown, but now they say they'll be down there all the time, it is such a fun place to be.

I loved the atmosphere down there last night, everyone was in such high spirits, and it really warmed my heart. I think it also helped that Canada won 2 golds yesterday, and 4 medals in total, which means Canada is now third in the medal count, and leading in the number of gold medals!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

More than just a Medal

As if winning an Olympic Medal for the country is not enough, Jennifer Heil and Alexandre Bilodeau use their athletic success to contribute to the greater good of society. Both of these athletes were inspired in some way by some one, and they were helped so much on the road to their success that they thought it was only right to now give back to the world.

Jennifer Heil has started the effort in making these the most giving Games by donating $25 000 to "Because I am a Girl" which is a charity that helps girls rise above poverty. Heil's inspirations have been Clara Hughes and Johann Koss who have both made major contributions to the greater good of society. Jenn stated today that she would love it if every athlete could contribute; she also said she is a strong believer in the thinking that if everybody does a little bit, it can make a huge difference. Now Jenn's donations is no little amount, but she said it is the least she can do after all that everybody has done for her throughout her career. She said that one of her biggest inspirations was her parents who drove her and her sister 8 hours every weekend so they could train with the Alberta provincial ski team. Heil's hopes with this campaign was to get other athletes on board and start a new trend with successful athletes, and this is exactly what she did, she has got her teammate and great friend Alexandre Bilodeau to match her donation to the organization of his choice.

For Alexandre Bilodeau, he said he would not have been standing on that podium if it weren't for his older brother Frederic who has inspired him so much. Bilodeau said that his brother was the reason he has stayed with this sport throughout all these years. So inspired by his teammate Jennifer Heil he has decided to donate $25 000 to the Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres in support of research into cerebral palsy. "The reaction of my brother after that gold medal run was the most rewarding moment of my life", Bilodeau said. He feels that after all everyone has done for him, it's the least he could do. "My brother Frederic is still beaming with joy, and that's the greatest gift I could ever ask for."

As if those two athletes were not great enough, next out on stage was Canada's newest gold medalist at the time; Ashleigh McIvor. It had only been a number of hours since I was watching her gold medal run on TV and now she is sitting in front of my eyes. McIvor talked about the feeling of competing at home, and how she is normally not a superstitious person, but in this past season she has been carrying a Buddha doll around in her ski jacket. It had brought her good luck for the last few months, so why change things right before the biggest race of her life. Tanya Shum, one of the other girls from Students Live asked Ashleigh what her mindset is when she's standing at the top of the hill, are you thinking 'I'm going to win this race' of are you thinking 'I'm going to go out there and do my best'? Ashleigh replied with "As I stand at the starting gate I'm just thinking that I'm going to try my best, because that is really all I can do. The results will just come, and I have no controll over how others do, I just have to do my best." And luckily her best was good enough for the gold, which raised Canada's gold count up to 6! I then asked McIvor what it meant to her to be the first woman ever to win gold in the sport of ski cross, and what it felt to win it at home. Her answer was simple "Too amazing for words." She said that it felt so great to walk into BC Place Stadium last night and not even being able to hear her name being called because the fans were so ecstatic. And finally a reporter asked Ashleigh if she was planning on making any sorts of contributions to a charity like Heil and Bilodeau are doing. Her reply was "To be honest I haven't thought about it at all, I'm still celebrating." she also said "I haven't even has a chance to sit back and think about what has happened, it still seems unreal to me."

For me this Press Conference (my very fisrt one actually) was very inspirational; these athletes have been inspired by others to give back to society, and I have been inspired by them! To be witnessing the effort of making these the most giving Games is so remarkable. Indeed these Games will go down in history for being the most green, and the most giving! But in reality, you don't have to be an Olympian in order to make a difference, and that is the message that these athletes were trying to convey, 'anyone can be the difference in this world'.

For more information on Jennifer Heil's organizaion visit
and for more information on the charity Alexandre Bilodeau is donating to, visit

Canada may not be leading the medal count, but we are creating legacies!

The Canadian Olympic Committee has announced that they are giving up on owning the podium, which is what they had said at the beginning of the Games. I do not agree with this attitude.
I do agree with the fact that we will not win the most medals, but guess what... for our population we are owning the United States in the medal count!

Canada is creating so many legacies in these games;

Alexandre Bilodeau- first Canadian to win an Olympic gold in Canada

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir- first Canadians, (and North Americans for that matter) to win a gold medal in pairs ice dancing, and youngest ever pair to win a gold medal in ice dancing

Ashleigh McIvor- first ever gold medal for womens ski cross

Brian McKeever- first athlete to compete in both the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games

Joannie Rochette- had the bravest skate of all time

So there you go, in my mind it isn't how many medals received it's about the stories and people behind them. Canada will go down in history in these Games. People are not going to remember the number of medals won, but the amazing legacies created. And so maybe we are 10 times smaller in population, but in my mind, and the minds of many other Canadians, we are the champions of these Games!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Games Creating Opportunities

Many of the Cultural Olympiad events are seen as extra entertainment for the Olympic Games; meaning that most people don't come to town for the Cultural events but more for the sporting events. However after people are in town, they would be happy to see the concerts and Cultural Olympiad. They want to see what else the the Winter Games have to offer besides the sports, and also experience different cultures from around the world.

If it were not for the Games, I probably would never have got to see Hey Rosetta!; an Indie Rock band from St.Johns, Newfoundland. It was an amazing concert, STARS and Hey Rosetta! were two amazing bands with loads of energy, and amazing talent. After the concert Tim Baker, lead singer of Hey Rosetta! took some time out of his night to speak to us Students Live reporters about what it's like to be a part of this worldwide event.

It was so cool to go backstage and see what the musicians do after they perform. Everyone was so chill and down to earth, I felt like they were just normal people who were hanging out in a basement. But truthfully, this wasn't any ordinary basement, it was the basement of the Orpheum, one of the most beautiful buildings there is.

I thought it was kind of funny how Tim was drinking tea after his concert. I guess it might be soothing for the throat, but all the other band members were drinking their beer, and then there's Tim Baker with his tea.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cauldron more Accessible?

So the changes have been made, and by the sound of things people are happier with the viewing of the Olympic Cauldron.
I went down to the Cauldron and asked people what they thought of the changes that VANOC had made.
Personally I am very happy with what they did to fix the problems. I think they did everything they could, and it is much more accessible now.
Now here is what others thought.

What do you think?

Don't Fret

The other day at a hockey game, one of those guys with the drums who pumps up the crowd said something that made me sad.

His words were "Come on guys, before you know it the Olympics are going to be over, so lets have some fun, show some energy."

This made me so sad to think that these weeks we have been waiting for for 7 years, will be over before we know it. It's been so much fun, and I don't want it to end.
But you know what, the best is still to come; the gold medal hockey games!

And no need to fret, after the Olympic Games are over, we will be heading into the Paralympic Games, which will be just as amazing, if not more. A lot of people forget about the Paralympic Games, or just don't think anything of them, but be sure to check them out. The party will still be going after the Olympic Games are over!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Canada is Hockey Central

I love this country! It's hockey nation, and even if it isn't our country out on the ice, we still have high spirits and support for the players.

The other day I was at the Czech vs. Latvia game, it was obvious who was the better team, as 6 minutes into the game it was already 3-0 Czech. Now, there were a number of Czech fans in the crowd who were happy with that. And there were a number of Latvians who were not too happy(but not surprised either). Then there were people like me, who didn't really care who won the game. Pretty much I would cheer for whoever scored, just so I could get up an scream.

But what I thought was the nicest thing was how when Latvia was down by quite a few, the whole stadium was cheering them on. Giving them some energy, and by the end of the game, I could tell they could feel the support because they were on fire near the end of the game.

I just loved how Canada is such a spirited country, and no matter who's playing, there is always plenty of energy and excitement in the crowd.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Public Transportation

How do you feel the Public Transportation has been so far during the games?

I personally think it has not been bad considering how crazy it is. Obviously everything is going to be crowded and busy, but I think Vancouver has done a fairly good job of accommodating to all these thousands of people. There's been a lot of pressure on Vancouver, and we've brought in a ton of extra buses, sea buses, and sky trains, and there's not a lot more we could have done.

This is not what two tourists from Idaho thought. They were very unhappy with public transportation, they said this was the 4th Olympic Games they have attended, and these have been the worst ones in terms of getting around. They said people have not been good about giving them directions and telling them what bus to get on. I feel very bad for them, as they were on the sea bus from North Vancouver, and were trying to get to Burnaby to catch a bus up to Whistler for luge. It has not been a good experience for them, and by the sounds of things, today would not be getting any better for them, as they were most likely going to miss their bus.

I kind of think these people are being too hard on Vancouver, because they are also complaining about how bad the Opening Ceremonies were, and how they've had to walk more in the past week then they have in had to walk in the last year.

Do you think these people were just being hard on Vancouver, or do you agree with them that the public transportation has room for improvement?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's a small world.

People say that the Olympic Games bring people together, allow you to meet new people and create great memories. This is no white lie.

The other day I was sitting on the sea bus next to an Olympic Volunteer, and across from him was another blue jacket sitting volunteer too. They got talking asking each other where they were volunteering and what their duties were. One was working in Canada Hockey Place, and the other at the Coliseum. As the conversation went on they figured out that they both grew up in Hamilton, Ontario. Then they figured out that they attended the same high school; only 2 grades apart!

One of them now lives in Kelowna, BC and the other is in the Toronto area. They were both so shocked that they went to the same high school which was a fairly small school of only about 700 students. But to top it all off, right before the sea bus was pulling into the station they realized that they even played on the same high school basketball team. What are the chances?

It just goes to show that the Olympics really do bring people together, and even reunite long-lost friends.(And it's amazing what you can learn from a little eavesdropping!)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Spirit of Uganda

Do you think the Olympics are just about sport? Well you are wrong! They are about so much more than that. And last night I had the pleasure of attending my first Cultural Olympiad event of the Games. I will admit, I too was getting a little caught up in the sport (it's easy to do). But last night was a real eye-opener. I got to see another culture, and learn the ways of other parts of the world, and that's what the Games are really all about; learning new things, creating world peace, and experiencing new cultures.

This show "Spirit of Uganda" was a group of 22 kids and teens from Uganda who were amazing dancers, drummers and singers. The performers ranged from ages 9-20, and you would not believe what they were doing, especially for their young ages. The strength and core that these dancers must have had was tremendous. And memorizing every move, and every step of a 1 and a half hour show is incredible. But even more spectacular then the dancing itself was the stories behind each and every child.

At the beginning of the show, we were told that every child in Uganda has access to a primary education, and 85% of primary school aged children actually attend school. That's very good for a developing countries like Uganda. But then they told us that to get a secondary education in Uganda it would cost $300-$1500 per year. Now you're probably thinking that is really cheep, and it is to us here in North America. But now consider that the average yearly income for a family in Uganda is $300, suddenly it's not such a good deal. We were also told that a bunch of the kids in this show were orphans of parents who suffered HIV or were captured by the rebels. Can you imagine?

It just touched my heart to see all the youth smiling up on stage, doing something they love to do. This must just be the greatest experience for them, to be able to tour the world, and escape the wars and injustices going on in their country. I could see it in their smiles that they were loving what they were doing and were so happy to be here.

The part that probably touched me the most was at the very end when each of the 22 dancers told us their name and the grade level they were in. Some of them spoke English well, and some barely at all, but each and every one of them were so proud to be saying their names. The ones who spoke English well enough even said "Thank you for coming." or "I enjoyed performing for you." But at the point where they were saying their grade level was the most brilliant to me. They ranged anywhere from grade 3 to grade 12, but there were a few who you could tell were much older than the grade level they said, which means they probably could not afford a secondary education. Some of the money made from this "Spirit of Uganda" tour is going towards building a secondary school in Uganda for those who can not afford to go to school.

What inspired me the most was after the show, when I was looking through the program. I saw the page with the bios of each of the 22 performers, it was so amazing to see that every child, orphan or not, has a dream of what they want to be when they grow up. If a child with no parents, and no education can still have big dreams then we can too. We have the access to a great education system, so let's not take for granted what we have. If there is ever a day you wake up and think 'I really don't want to go to school today' remember that there are so many children out there who would die to be in your place!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ticket-Holders Dissapointment

I had tickets for today's snowboard cross on Cypress Mountain, but by the looks of things, I won't be going. And neither will anyone with General Admission tickets. These cancellations are due to poor weather conditions which are causing safety hazards. I know this is very disappointing for anyone with tickets. I am upset too, but there's no use blaming VANOC or causing a huge fuss, because there is absolutely nothing they can do to control the weather. Anyone with General Admission tickets will be receiving a refund; but what if that was someones only event, that would be tragic! Or what if someone has traveled a long ways to see this one event, and they are no longer able to attend. I know this is going to cause a lot of complaints, but really it is no one's fault, except for maybe every human being on the face of this earth for causing global warming.

I find it quite funny though how they are having these huge snowstorms in the Eastern United States, and here when we need it, we have NONE. We could use some snow on Cypress for some of the ski and snowboard events, but Whistler is in perfect shape. And in a way, I think the weather worked out just right. Could you imagine what a mess it would be downtown if there was snow and ice everywhere? There would be so many car crashed, people would not go out as much, and we would need so many snow shovelers just to clear a small path on the sidewalks. Although the snow conditions aren't ideal, I honestly think hauling snow in to Cypress Mountain is a lot better than having the whole city covered in snow.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Medal Counts and Protesters

CANADA HAS A GOLD ON HOME SOIL! Thanks to the French Canadian mogul freestyle skiier, Alexandre Bilodeau. He will go down in history!
Keep an eye on this medal count as Canada brings home the hardware!

On a different note:
A few nights ago I was walking downtown, and I saw all the broken windows at the Olympic Superstore. There were glass guys there fixing up the mess that the protesters had left. As well there were a ton of people with signs saying things such as "Being a vandal is NOT a political statement." People have been quite upset about these actions, and so they should be. It is just so rude and disrespectful, and not to mention ILLEGAL. Many protesters have been arrested for these actions. To me it makes no sense that these people are complaining about the Winter Games because they are costing the tax payers so much money. Well newsflash, smashing windows is not going to cause tax payers to pay any less.

I can understand that some of these people have good reasons for not supporting the Games, but don't try to ruin them! So many people are coming to Vancouver for these Games, and so many people have been waiting anxiously for their arrival. It's too late to stop them, and you're never going to ruin them, so just make the best of this exciting times.

Holding onto Pride

Last night was Canada's first hockey game of this tournament! And I had the pleasure of attending this women's Canada vs. Slovakia game. It was so exciting to be in Hockey Canada Place, the atmosphere was amazing, and the crowds were a sea of red and white. We knew going into this game who was going to be the stronger team, but we were still in high spirits cheering for our country.

In the first 2 minutes it was already 1-0, and then 2-0 about a minute later. This is pretty much how the whole game played out. I think Canada came out really strong as they didn't want to get underestimate their opposition. After the first period it was 7-0, and Canada was still coming at them strong. The crowd was still on their feet after every goal, and no matter how high the score got Canada were still waving their flags, and ringing their cow bells.

I think about half way into the second period Canada started laying off a little. Not that they just gave up because of overconfidence, but for the respect of the Slovakian team. As a spectator it was really fun to watch the amazing passing and puck control of the Canadian team.

By the end of the game, the score was 18-0, which is a new record for the most goals scored in a single game by a woman's Olympic hockey team. The next few weeks are looking good for this hockey team.

When the score was getting really high, I was feeling a little bad for the Slovakian team, and I think they were getting a little discouraged. But it was so nice to see after the handshake they were all in smiles, and they saluted the crowd. In all, they may not have been the strongest hockey team but they had great sportsmanship which is what the Olympics are all about.

From Drugs to Skates

I hope everyone was watching the Opening Ceremonies last night, and then you must have seen Clara Hughes leading team Canada, and waving the flag with utmost pride. As you know, Clara is an amazing Canadian speed skater, but do you know about her background and childhood? I was shocked when I heard about it.

At the age of 9, Clara's parents split up; that was what led her down the wrong path. As a very young teen, Clara started partying and drinking. And then not long after that she began experimenting with minor drugs. And at one point in Clara's early teen hood she even ran away from home. Things were not looking good for her future.

"At the time, I smoked a pack a day," she said. "I wasn't into really hard drugs, but I was doing a fair amount of soft drugs and just partying a lot. I would run away from home for the weekend. I just wouldn't come home...And so there I was, this undisciplined, pseudo-amoral girl, young adolescent, and this thing happened inside of me. I was like, ‘I'm going to do that.' I just knew."

It happened while she was sitting in the living room watching the Calgary 1988. She was 16 years old, and this was the first time she'd seen speed skating. The moment she saw the skaters she knew that is what she wanted to with her life. In Clara's eyes, these skaters were just floating on the ice, and that is what inspired her to change her life, in a way not even imaginable. It definitely took a very strong soul to change your life that dramatically.

"I have friends from that time in my life who are severe alcoholics and have major social problems and life problems, I know a girl whose boyfriend killed her and then killed himself."

Look where she was then, and where she is now. This is such a great example of a success story, and we are proud to call this worldwide icon a Canadian!
Good luck to Clara Hughes at the Olympic Games!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Free Concerts

The Olympic Games are now officially underway! Don't think that you can't celebrate and enjoy the Games just because you don't have any tickets for events. There are just tons of free events happening out there too.
Here is a list of the free concerts:
Fri Feb 12th - Venice Queen - 10:15pm @ Ozone
Fri Feb 12th - Bedouin Soundclash - 10:00 @ Ontario Pavillion
Fri Feb 12th - Blue Rodeo - 9:15 @ Holland Park
Sat Feb 13th - Daniel Wesley - 10:00pm @ Holland Park
Sat Feb 13th - Hey Ocean - 8pm @ Ozone
Sat Feb 13th - Bedouin Soundclash - 9:30pm @ Ozone
Sat Feb 13th - Default/Wilco - 6:15/10:00 @ Livecity Yaletown
Sun Feb 14th - Keisha Chante - 10:00 @ Ontario Pavillion
Sun Feb 14th - Mother Mother - 8:00 @ Livecity Yaletown
Sun Feb 14th - Daniel Wesley - 9:30 @ Livecity Yaletown
Mon Feb 15th - Sloan - 10:30 @ Atlantic Canada House
Mon Feb 15th - Matisyahu - 9:30pm @ Livecity Yaletown
Tue Feb 16th - Alexisonfire - 9:30 @ Livecity Yaletown
Tue Feb 16th - Buck 65 - 9:30pm @ Livecity Downtown
Tue Feb 16th - The Trews - 10:30 @ Atlantic Canada House
Wed Feb 17th - DRUM! - 5:00 @ Livecity Yaletown
Wed Feb 17th - Corb Lund - 9:30 @ Livecity Yaletown
Wed Feb 17th - The Arkells - 10:00 @ Ontario Pavillion
Wed Feb 17th - Hawksley Workman - 9:30 @ Ozone
Wed Feb 17th - Hot Hot Heat - 9:00 @ Holland Park
Thur Feb 18th - Jully Black - 10:00 @ Ontario Pavillion
Thur Feb 18th - Keisha Chante - 8:00 @ Livecity Yaletown
Thur Feb 18th - Corb Lund - 9:00 @ Holland Park
Thur Feb 18th - The Arkells/Our Lady Peace 8:30/9:45 @ Ozone
Thur Feb 18th - Marianas Trench - 9:30 @ Livecity Yaletown
Fri Feb 19th - Deadmau5 - 9:30 @ Livecity Yaletown
Fri Feb 19th - DRUM! - 8:00 @ Ozone
Fri Feb 19th - Jully Black - 10:00 @ Holland Park
Fri Feb 19th - The Arkells/Sam Roberts - 7/9:00 @ Holland Park
Sat Feb 20th - The Arkells/ Sam Roberts - 6:30/9:30 @ Livecity Yaletown
Sat Feb 20th - Marianas Trench - 9:30 @ Ozone
Sat Feb 20th - Mother Mother - 10:00 @ Holland Park
Sat Feb 20th - DRUM! - 6:30 @ Holland Park
Sat Feb 20th - Hey Ocean - 8:30 @ Holland Park
Sun Feb 21st - 54-40 - 9:00 @ Holland Park
Sun Feb 21st - Jully Black - 9:30 @ Livecity Yaletown
Mon Feb 22nd - Colin James - 9:30 @ Livecity Yaletown
Tue Feb 23rd - Wintersleep - 9:30 @ Livecity Yaletown
Wed Feb 24th - Wintersleep - 10:30 @ Atlantic Canada House
Wed Feb 24th - Damian "Jr.Gong" Marley - 9:30 @ Livecity Yaletown
Thur Feb 25th - Illscarlett - 6:30 @ Livecity Yaletown
Thur Feb 25th - Wintersleep - 9:30 @ Ozone
Thur Feb 25th - Inward Eye - 11:30 @ Livecity Downtown
Fri Feb 26th - Tokyo Police Club - 9:45 @ Ozone
Fri Feb 26th - Inward Eye - 6:00 @ Holland Park
Fri Feb 26th - Illscarlett - 8:00 @ Holland Park
Fri Feb 26th - Marianas Trench - 9:00 @ Holland Park
Fri Feb 26th - TBC - 8/9:30 @ Livecity Yaletown
Sat Feb 27th - The Stills - 10:15 @ Ozone
Sat Feb 27th - Illscarlett - 10:00 @ Ontario Pavillion
Sat Feb 27th - Blue Rodeo - 9:30 @ Livecity Yaletown
Sat Feb 27th - Wide Mouth Mason - 9:30 @ Holland Park
Sat Feb 27th - Tokyo Police Club/Wintersleep - 9/10:00 @ Holland Park
Sun Feb 28th - Five Alarm Funk - 9:30 @ Ozone

These aren't just the no-name artists either, these are some very good artists!

Lighting the Cauldron

Here we are! This is it, day 106, the final day of the longest ever domestic torch relay in Olympic history! Who do you think will be doing the final leg of the torch relay, and lighting the cauldron today? Can you believe it? TODAY!

There's been tons of speculations about who will be the final torch bearer. People are thinking Wayne Gretzky, Betty Fox, Nancy Greene-Raine, Karen Magnussen, Cindy Klassen and Michael J. Fox.

But those aren't the only options, what about an average citizen? Robyn Perry was a 12-year-old schoolgirl and figure skater who lit the flame in Calgary in 1988, and she wasn't famous. And in Montreal it was Stephane Prefontaine and Sandra Henderson, two everyday teenagers. So it could be anyone.

The favourites of course are Betty Fox and Wayne Gretzky, but who do you think would be the best suited Canadian to light the cauldron?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Torch Relay Volunteer Interview

Yesterday I was at ValleyFest in Lynn Valley, and it was an absolute great time! It is going to be open all throughtout the Games, so I suggest you go check it out. The people are amazing, they have live music, athletes, festivities and much more. I happened to meet Emily Chan there, so we went and did a few interviews. Here is one of them:

Thanks to Emily for filming this video, check out her blog at

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day of Anticipation

WHAT AN AMAZING DAY! This little thing happened in my town today, it is called the Olympic Torch Relay; only the longest domestic relay in Olympic history. The flame was first lit in Greece on October 22nd, 2009, and since then has been to the farthest corners of the country. Today is day 104 of the relay, and up until now I've been following it on the live CTV web cam, and watching the highlights of every week, but today I got to see it with my very own eyes. And a great experience it really was!

Bright and early I was at school to great people with tattoos and red hair spray. Just about everyone walking through those front doors was jazzed up in their red, or Olympic wear, it was great to see all the spirit! After the tattoos and red hair spray, we headed off to Deep Cove.

It was absolutely amazing, the amount of people there. I have never seen that many people gathering in the Cove, and the ear-to-ear smiles on everyone's faces were contagious!

Gallant Ave, or as we call it, "Down Town Deep Cove" was decked out with banners up on the townhouse railings which were painted by the art students at Seycove, with the help of the local elementary schools. All the stores had Canadian flags and maple leafs covering their windows, and even the waters were decorated with red and white kayakers.

It was great to see the diversity among the Canadians there to watch. There was a huge group of elementary school kids, our high school students, our parents, and even the senior citizens from up the road. It was so nice to bring the community together.

After what seemed like hours of waiting, we see the Coca-Cola trucks rolling around the corner followed by the RBC trucks. On the trucks were dancers, singers, drummers and performers pumping the crowd up. Then we see the official Torch Relay Trucks coming in, and that's when everyone went wild! The Seycove choir started singing O'Canada, and it was like a chain reaction, after the first few words people started joining along and eventually we had just about everyone singing our national anthem. It was a magical moment, just seeing how excited everyone is, and how patriotic we are, I can tell these Games are going to be ones to remember!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Governator Carrying the Torch?

We are heading into the last few days of the torch relay, and some of the final torch bearers have been named. Included in this list are names such as
Rick Hansen
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Richard Brodeur, Canadian hockey player
Julie Peyette, Canadian astronaut
Micheal Buble, singer/songwriter
Walter Gretzky
Rolly Fox, father of Terry Fox
Bob Lenarduzzi, professional soccer player

I think this is a nice, versatile list of people that are carrying the torch in the last few days of the relay. But Arnold Schwarzenegger? That one caught my eye. I don't exactly consider the "Governator" to be a role model. I guess he's changed since his steroids phase, but he's not even Canadian either. I just find it a little ironic how the Olympic and Paralympic Games are trying so hard to be "dope-free" yet we have a torchbearer who has taken so many steroids. I think this is kind of going against the Olympic morals. This is not saying that Arnold is a terrible person, but it's just strange to me, and he's not even Canadian!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Van City is Buzzing

It's official, Vancouver is buzzing with excitement!

This morning I was downtown with the Students Live Crew; our day started in the BCELC offices where we exchanged phone numbers, finalized ticket draws and received our official Cultural Olympiad passes! That entitles us to free transportation until the end of March, which will be very handy, as I plan on using public transit as much as possible throughout the next hectic few months.

Later on, we walked from the Harbour Centre to Robson Square where we were getting a tour of the Robson Media Centre. Although the tour was extremely cool, and I am overly excited about having access to the Media Centre, perhaps the walk there was even more exciting. There is just so much excitement and energy in the air; and everyone is wearing their Olympic Mittens and their Team Canada wear. At one corner of the walk, there was a man handing out anti-Olympic flyers, and I hardly saw anyone taking any, but right next to him were some VANOC officials handing out some sort of pamphlet, and those were going like crazy. Another thing we saw was a group of people wearing signs and yelling out "Free Hugs", although I thought it was a little bizarre, it also was nice to see the love. People often say that Vancouver is a very friendly city with people always laughing and smiling, and I guess these people were just adding to the reputation. There were also more street performers than I have ever seen in my life, from freestyle rappers, to violinists, to magicians, there was a show on ever corner of the street. To top it all off, we just happened to run into the Czech Republic Olympic team. It was kind of funny, they were walking along Robson with their cameras taking pictures of the City when everyone started crowding them for pictures. My highlight was when a mother was taking a picture of her kids with the athletes and she asked what sport they competed in, they replied "luge" and then this little girl, probably only 4 years old, said "I LOVE LUGE!" she sounded so excited, and had the biggest smile on her face I have ever seen, and I'm not even sure if she knew what luge was. It was the cutest thing.

I always love walking down the street and seeing all the Mascots in the windows of the store's. but today I didn't even notice that, there was too much live excitement going on. And of course with all this excitement comes the protesters, I saw a few of them too, but no one seemed to be paying any attention to them.
Moral of the story: Try to spend as much time as you can downtown during the games. They haven't even started yet, and it's already crazy, I can't even imagine what it'll be like when they get underway! While you're down there, don't forget to check out the Robson Square ice rink, it is tons of fun, and the ZipTreck over Robson Square opens on February 12th, which is going to be amazing!

The Aussies are happy campers! VANOC origianally said that the Australians must take down the flag they hug up at the Olympic Village, which was kangaroo with boxing gloves that represents their "fighting spirits". VANOC said it was too commercial and must be taken down, but today the flag was approved, and it will be hung high for the rest of the games. I personally think the flag is doing no harm, and I couldn't understand what the fuss was about.

Lastly, today was an exciting day for the torch relay; the Olympic Torch has officially entered the Lower mainland! It is now only 5 days until Clara Hughes will be carrying the Canadian Flag, and the Olympic Cauldron will be lit!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

2010 Podiums, very Canadian

Here is a look at the design for the Vancouver 2010 podiums. What do you think? Personally, they were not what I expected, but I really like them. I am used to the traditional, box-like podiums so it was weird seeing these ones, however I think they really represent the host province of BC.

These very unique podiums were designed so that no one forgets the Vancouver Olympics. They are shaped like Vancouver Island, both in form, and topography. The podiums are made of wood from various regions of B.C. Each of the 23 podiums weigh as much as 260 kilograms. These very Canadian pieces of art were made by RONA. We hope to hear O'Canada while our athletes stand at the top of those podiums!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tight Security

Yesterday a press announcement was made. VANOC has said that you should arrive at your Olympic Venue 2-3 hours before the start of the event (2 hours for city venues, and 3 hours for mountain venues). They are estimating that it will take this long just to get into the venues. I think it is great that they are putting so much effort into making these Games as safe as possible, but 2-3 hours seems quite ridiculous. What happens if you've already bought your transportation ticket and it doesn't allow 2 to 3 hours before the event. I don't disagree with the security, but should they not have announced this a little earlier?

Spectators will be asked to walk through a magnetometer and all belongings will be subject to x-ray screening. They said that you should not bring anything into the venues that you would not be allowed to bring on an airplane including food and drinks, even water. I'm was a little curious why the Olympic Games have to have so much more security than a NHL game for instance. I found the answer from the inspector of security coordinator for the Vancouver 2010 Security Unit. He said "this level of security is not something Canadians are accustomed to for a sporting event, but it's become standard practice based on past Olympic games and international competitions." It is estimated that the screening process will take up to a minute. Spectators can speed up the process by emptying their pockets, and are also advised to bring no bag, or as little as possible anyway.

About 5,200 RCMP officers, 4,500 members of the Canadian Forces, 1,800 regional police officers, and 5,000 private security officials will be deployed for the Games.
So I'm sure we will be safe as can be at the Winter Games!