Monday, March 1, 2010

Some final notes...

Well we're back in California now and our Olympic adventure is over. It was capped off by an amazing gold medal curling match when Kevin Martin finally won his gold. Things were close in the beginning but Canada just made the big shots when they needed them and it seemed like Norway struggled to match them. The most memorable moments were in the 10th end when victory was all but assured the crowd broke into singing Oh Canada, and the excitement after the final shot was made. To see medals in curling being awarded was awesome.

So here are some final raves and rants:

-Big rave to the all of the Vancouver volunteers. They were friendly, helpful, enthusiastic, and took their jobs very seriously. All that work for only the ubiquitous blue jacket and hat, and a lot great memories.

-A rant at the poor planning of the Olympic merchandising. Having only one store (which always had at least a half an hour wait to get into!) to sell the licensed gear was silly.

-Another rant at the supply of Team Canada gear and the beloved red Olympic mittens. It seemed all of the cool Canada sweatshirts and jackets, and of course the mittens were all sold out the first week of the games. If they had more they would have made a fortune and still sold out but again poor planning.

-A rave to the excellent public transportation in Vancouver. Lines were often long and trains were crowded before and after events, but things moved fast and were very efficient. The Cypress Mtn. buses were especially well organized.

-Another rant at Team USA's PR during these games. I already mentioned before the fact that the USA house was off limits (unless your were an athlete or gave the USOC lots of money). Well we did find some Team USA stuff that was even more over priced than the regular Olympic gear because it was also branded by Ralph Lauren Polo. Just because it has that stupid doesn't mean people are going to be willing to pay 3x more (I think t-shirts were $70 and track jackets were $300). As a result I saw almost no one wearing Team USA stuff. I wonder if they thought Americans don't care about the Winter Olympics and won't come. Just more bad international marketing of the USA.

-A big rave to our friends Harry and Simon who graciously let us stay at their beautiful condo in downtown Vancouver. And to our friend Bryan who showed us all of the good places to drink on Davie.

-A final rave to Canada and Canadians. Although they made it very clear about who they were rooting for, they were friendly and welcoming as always. And as Michael J. Fox said during the closing ceremonies, we all became Canadian during these two and a half weeks. I think most of us brought home at least one shirt or hat with "Canada" on it.

Thanks everyone and good curling!


P.S. I'll try to post more pics after we sort through the hundreds of pics Matthew took.

Friday, February 26, 2010

More Pics!

The Olympic Cauldron

The Norwegian curling pants

Swedish skip Annette Norberg

Team USA

Team Canada looking over a shot

Finally some Pics!

Cheryl Bernard arriving at the curling club and greeting her husband.

Debbie McCormick and Us

The Chinese skip Bing-Yu Wang warming up before the semifinal matches

The whole family at ice level

John Shuster, Jason Smith, and us

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Olympic Curling at it's Best!

Just a quick post...I just got back from hanging out at the Vancouver Curling Club. This morning we watched the Women's semi-finals where Canada won an exciting match over Switzerland, then decided to check out the curling club. It was way crowded and took like 30 mins to get in but it was all worth it. First, while we were waiting downstairs for space in the bar, Debbie McCormick was milling around so we got a quick picture with her. Then, after we finally got settled in upstairs at the bar, look who shows up but the WHOLE Canadian Women's team, Cheryl Bernard and everyone! Snapped a couple of pics and Matthew got his ticket autographed by the entire team, but it was just awesome hanging out at the curling club with possible Olympic Gold Medalists!

More to come...


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Here is the second set of pictures from the previous weekend.

A scene from the SWE - FIN hockey game

Oliver Axnick (German coach), myself and Andy Kapp (German skip) at dinner after the afternoon curling game (unfortunately Germany had lost against Denmark which cost them the tie-breaker for the semis in the end)

A scene from the GER - DEN game with quite a mess in the house

Fan and RCMP outside of the curling arena

Here is the first set of my pictures from my second weekend in Vancouver. I had again a very nice time and this time also perfect weather.

Vancouver downtown is decorated with many of these eagles

The Olympic Flame after they cut a hole in the fence so that pople could take better pictures of it

Canadian curling fans at theCAN - GBR game on Saturday ( a great game)

The curling logo in the arena

Another group of Canadian fans

Monday, February 22, 2010

I forgot a couple of things...

I forgot a couple of things in my last post:

-First, one of the cool things about watching curling live is you get to see stuff that they don't show on tv. Like John Shuster and Kevin Martin having some friendly chatting at the beginning of an end, especially when it was looking like the US would lose. And seeing how perfect the ice is...I really want to throw one stone on it!

-We had an improptu SFBACC meetup when we ran into Loreen (the honorary US skip) and Bryan, and Pam and Ron. It was nice to see some familiar faces!

-If you're watching it on tv tonight, look for us with the California flag. We brought it randomly since there aren't any Californians in the tournament, but maybe we'll attract the tv camera because we are so random!


Our First Olympic Curling Match (Patrick & Matthew - 02-22-10)

Our Olympic experience has begun! We just got in yesterday, walked our town a bit which was a-buzz with the Canada-US hockey game, and feeling the Olympic excitement. This morning, we were able to pick up tickets to the Canada-US mens curling match and it was a lot of fun! Canada started out a bit slow so the US kept it close through 5 ends, but after a couple of US misses (and bad calls IMHO) and nice Canadian shots, the US found themselves behind and unable to mount a comeback. Sadly, it does seem the Americans are outmatched in this tournament there probably won't be another Olympic medal for Shuster this year.

But the curling venue is great, it seems like every seat has a good view, and people are very into it (and of course very partisan toward Canada). Tonight we have US vs. China tickets and Canada is not playing so it should be interesting to see how lively the crowd will be.

Finally, I need to express my displeasure of the USOC's organization at this Olympics. Most of the big Winter Olympics countries have these "Houses" where they have entertainment, sometimes food and drink, and shopping open to the public. So we tried to look for the USA House and found out that it's not open to the public, but they have a Team USA store. That's fine, we would like to get some Team USA stuff for when we go to the events. So we walk down there and find out that not even the Store is open to the public. It's only open to the athletes, their families, and sponsors. Way to go exclusionary and elitist as always. We'll hang out in the Canadian Houses, or maybe the German House...we hear they have good food there!


P.S. We'll post pics when we get back, we don't have USB connector for the camera here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

(Wes Seeger - 2010-02-19) - Martin Continues to Steamroll Opponents!

Both Canadian rinks are undefeated after Day 3 but while Cheryl Bernard's rink has had to pull a rabbit out of the hat in the 10th or 11th end of each their games to record the win. By comparison Kevin Martin's rink is making it look easy.
Bernard needed two in the 10th against Japan and a last rock point in the 11th against Germany to get those wins.
Martin's opponents shook hands early in their two day 3 wins. Sweden kept it within striking distance until the 9th but were never really in contention. Martin's free draw for 2 in the 1st and three in the 5 put Canada ahead by 4 and Sweden never recovered.
In the evening draw the French team could have conceded after 4 end following a 5 by Canada and a 7 point deficit, but hung until the 8th before shaking hands after giving up a 3 to renew that 7 point gap.
While his opponents aren't making all their shots, Martin and team are attempting difficult shots and making them as if they are nothing but routine. Perhaps for this rink making double and triple take-outs, long raise take-outs and goining through paper thin ports are just routine.

The US teams reside at the opposite end of the win/loss spectrum with no wins for either the men's or women's teams.

John Shuster blew another 11th end hammer to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Against Denmark, a team they outshot statistically, the USA team made key mistakes at the wrong time letting the Danes stay in contention. On the last rock of the extra end Shuster needed only to to chip the Danish shot rock 2 feet to get the win. But rather than opt for a controlled weight take out that the sweepers could handle, he threw parking lot weight, missed the broom and the sweepers could only watch as he nosed the Danish stone on to his own 2nd shot rock and voila, extended their winless streak.
American spirits were lifted though by an emotional and perfect free skate from Evan Lysacek to capture the gold and break the Russian stranglehold on men's skating. From our position (in the top row) while silver medalist Evgeny Plushinko had the greater degree of difficulty (including a Quad/Triple combo) and executed flawlessly, Lysacek put it all together into a more fluid package.
Daisuke Takahashi took home bronze and Canada's Patrick Chan just missed the podium coming fifth.
The most spirited skate of the evening came from Nobunari Oda, a young Japanese skater with a royal heritage, who broke a boot lace landing a triple axel and fell. The judges permitted him to fix the skate and continue the program from a point after the fall and he finished the rest of the program without incident; and to a standing ovation. Unfortunatley the fall dropped him into 7th place.

From a sunny but cold lower mainland morning,..... good curling!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Here is another set of pictures from past weekend - biathlon women's 7.5km on Saturday in Whistler and some downtown Vancouver

Mens's Curling First Day

Well it was a good day for Canada on day one of Men's curling, USA,...... not so much! In the morning matches Kevin Marting jumped out to a big lead and in the end one with a classic hammer strategy. With a one shot lead (and the hammer) going into the six, Team Canada blanked 6, 7, 8 and then took 1 in 9 to go home with a 2 shot lead. Norway, with hammer, scored 2 in the 10th to tie the match and then in extra ends Kevin Martin played to keep the 4 foot open and then laid down a perfect draw to win.

The US struggled through out their match with Germany losing 7-5.

I attended an exciting round of curling at the Olympic Center in the evening and was treated to Kevin Martin at his best against Germany. The Germans had opportunity after opportunity to put Canada in serious trouble but Martin came up with miracle shots time and again. From triple take-outs to keep Germany to one, to long raise takeouts to turn a 3 point Germany steal into a Canadian 2!!! If Martin curls like this the entire Olympics he'll be unbeatable,.... unfortunately saving yourself from trouble time and time again will usually come back to bite you.

John Shuster's USA team was never really in the evening match with Norway despite having a golden opportunity to win in the extra end. Shuster made some exciting saves to keep it close but in the end bad shot making from lead through to skip let Norway steal one in the 11th to win. John Benton's two free guard tick attempts failed miserably leaving guards in front of the 4 foot and raising one of the Norway stones into the house. Then with a an open four foot to draw to for the win, Shuster through his last rock through the house unswept,..... wait a minutes I've made that exact same miss before myself!!!!!

End result - Canada is undeafeated after day 1,..... USA needs to have a long string of consecutive wins to get into medal contention.

Wes - From Fort Langley, BC

Monday, February 15, 2010

(Thomas Vogelsang, Monday 2/15) Looks like I am the first contributor. As you all know there is no Curling before tomorrow, but I have been up in Vancouver at the past weekend anyway to watch the Opening Ceremony on Friday and Biathlon on Saturday. The Opening Ceremony was absolutely phantastic. I am sure many of you saw it on TV but being there is so much more - to have the experience of being in the audience, not to have to suffer through commercials and the comments of the TV moderator.
My seat was just right (from my point of view) of the place where the snowboarder jumped out in the beginning.
Five seconds to go

Canada entering the stadium

The fiddler in the canoe

Aerial ballet

The flame is lit

Have fun,. I will post Biathlon pictures later this week and I will be back in Vancouver on the coming weekend for Curling and Hockey.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Welcome to the SFBACC's Olympic Adventure Blog!

Check here for photos and stories from our traveling curlers! - Gabrielle