There are no easy ways to get to Sochi, so I was pretty pleased that my route was Pearson-Istanbul-Sochi; even with a 9 hour lay over I thought I’d scored. The Star Alliance lounge in Istanbul is one of the nicest I’ve been to and I knew it had a movie room and a huge wall with a bank of 9 TV’s. If I was going to be in transit during the Olympics – and particularly the final of Team Figure skating – I would be able to watch all the action all day.
You see, while I love being AT the Games, it’s very hard to know all the results and stories while you are there. I miss watching the profiles, hearing the post competition interviews, and the highlight montages that are always done so well. I left after the opening ceremonies and had gotten really used to watching it all.
I was pretty shocked to find that Turkish Airlines wouldn’t turn any of their TV’s to the Olympics. But if the best rule for a great Olympic performance is “have a plan, but don’t expect anything to go according to plan” then this was just another opportunity to put the rule to action. I called home and Deanah was able to put her computer on a stool, on an ottoman in front of our TV and Adam Parfitt (I was travelling with him to Sochi) and I streamed the CBC Olympic coverage via FaceTime for what seemed like hours. It was a pretty great way to start the trip, when some of the athletes that I love to chat with won a silver medal.
We landed in Sochi at 5am, and we’re at our hotel at 7am. Showered, had breakfast and walking by 10
10:30am – walk to Olympic park, validate spectator pass – This is one of many unique extra layers of Russian bureaucracy / security
11:30 – get to Canada Olympic House- An incredible resource for friends and family of the Canadian Olympic team. It is a meeting/resting/eating/celebrating space right in the heart of Olympic Park. It’s also the only place we can see the CBC coverage.
12:00 meet up with moms and dads of so many of the athletes I work with – they are all so proud!!
Meet up with our women’s snowboard cross. I’ve known Maelle and Dominque since 2006 in Turino- they have always been strong but they have been so dominant in the last few seasons. Even with her wrist in a cast Maelle is set to go with her trademark big smile and Dom – well, she feels so prepared and so ready – I could feel her energy radiating from her. That will be a great event to watch and I’m stoked that I have tickets.
2:00 watch men’s short track 1500m competition, where Charles Hamelin was inspiring as he controlled his races and took the gold in such a controlled fashion – (it’s rare to watch short track and get a sense that anyone has control!!). Awesome to watch with a group spirited Canadians.
3:00 – take a train to Khosta, where the Canadian team has a Performance Centre (an off site location of accommodation, offices and training and technical facilities)
4:00 – take a train to Rosa Khutor, have 7pm dinner at McDonalds (I never eat the stuff unless I’m at the Olympics! which always seems kind of backwards!)
9pm – watch the men’s moguls competition! How incredible was that! The Russians were excited because they had a guy in the top 5… But at one point it looked like the other 4 would be Canadians! Just incredible to watch Alex and Mikael take the gold and silver. Its such a different emotional journey to win again… I really appreciated the work and pressure that Alex was under. Also pretty cool to watch it with Adam vanKoeverden. He’s getting pretty inspired here to win again in Rio!
12am train back to the Coast
2am bed. What a packed first day.