Saturday, February 27, 2010

olympic wrap-up....

We've been...we've seen...we've cheered...we've immersed ourselves in the excitement that was the 2010 Olympics. It will all be coming to an end soon...but it has been the experience of a lifetime. Hosting the Olympics has made us proud of our country...and has fostered goodwill between many nations...something which has been so special to be a part of.

Yesterday we made the trip out to the acclaimed Richmond Oval to watch long track speed skating. When we bid on these tickets nearly two years was as much about seeing the venue as watching the event.

The Richmond Oval is situated along the banks of the Fraser River...not far from the Vancouver International Airport. The glassed northern side of the building provides spectacular views of the river and the North Shore Mountains on a clear day. Yesterday was an umbrella day! I came with my new Olympic 2010 black umbrella...and I came home with NO umbrella. Umbrellas were not allowed inside the venue...and could be retrieved from security on exiting. It seemed someone wanted a souvenir...and they are now enjoying my umbrella.

Back to the oval....the roof of the building was designed in the shape of a heron's wing...though one would have to see it from the air to take it all in. The roof is one of the longest clear spans in North America...

...and includes one million board feet of B.C. pine-beetle kill wood linked together in a way to create a rippled effect. This one of a kind roof...and specifically the use of the pine beetle wood...resulted in the Oval receiving an award of excellence in architectural innovation by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

After the Olympics, the Richmond Oval will be converted to a multi-use sport facility that will include two Olympic-sized ice rinks...up to eight hardwood ball-sport courts...a gymnasium...a 200 meter track...a rubberized turf area...and a high performance centre for elite athletes. Think BIG! The speed-skating oval will be covered with removable flooring and could still be used for competition. It will be a lasting legacy of the Olympic games of 2010.

The specific event we had tickets for...was the team pursuit qualification finals...both men and women. Though I took many photos...of all the different teams...and they are all amazing skaters...I'll leave you with a few pic's of my favorite teams. Those were the ones dressed in red...of course!

These three went on to win the first ever men's medal in speed skating for Canada...and a gold at that. We watched both the men's quarter-final and semi-final heat...and the Canadian guys managed to break the standing Olympic record both times. They skated as speeds that are hard to imagine. I'm so glad they were able to go all the way today.

Then the girls had their fun to see some of Canada's top female skaters on the ice...all at one time. Kristina Groves, Christine Nesbitt, and Brittany Schussler...and our hero from the last Olympics...Cindy Klassen. Cindy did not skate in the heat we watched.

Canada was paired with Team USA...

...and ended the race 2/100ths of a second behind. Despite an amazing skate...their team pursuit dream ended with this race.

Though the stands were predominantly red....

...there was a large contingency of orange throughout the venue. Speed skating is a Dutch favorite...and Team Netherlands had an enthusiastic and noisy fan club. The Holland Heineken House is situated nearby...and is the home away from home for all Dutch athletes and fans. And guess how they get around?

Holland's national railway sent over 400 bikes to be used by athletes and officials of the Heineken House during the no cost. They are using the same mode of transportation to which they are accustomed back home...and many are trying out the new Richmond bike trail. They are easily spotted...they all wear orange!

While we were in the neighbourhood...we stopped by Richmond O-Zone...watched families skating on the outdoor ice rink...and did a quick tour of B.C. Street.

The Richmond City Hall is worth stopping by...

...just to see their display of floating red cranberries. Cranberries represent the largest agricultural crop of the area...and are a part of the 'paint the town red' campaign. In the park next door are the Olympic rings...also filled with floating cranberries...and a huge maple leaf of formed with a sea of cranberries.

Tomorrow will see the games come to a close...and we will be left with only memories...good ones.

The view from 'my front porch' will be very different for the next while...and will look more like the picture you see on my header today. I will be taking a blogging break for awhile...but when I return...I will be giving away a pair of the coveted red Olympic mittens. It seems hubby doesn't covet the ones that were intended for him. Leave me a comment...tell me what you enjoyed most of the winter games...and I'll have a draw once I'm back. Should your name be will be in good over three million pairs have been sold.

And if you don't really care to wear mittens...they work as foot warmers as well...I noticed!

I'll be missing you...


  1. Well Judy you sure gave us a wonderful view from your front porch these past two weeks. Thank you so much for all the wonderful photo's and posts.

    My fav was the men's halfpipe the best, watching Shaun take the gold and set the bar so high was so thrilling for me. Can't wait to see the closing ceremonies too!

    Enjoy the break, but don't stay away too long.

    I love those red Olympic mittens! Count me in on the give away!


  2. Thanks for sharing so much info about the games! I'm not really a huge fan of the Olympics, but having them at home would have been amazing to witness. I actually didn't even really care until everyone I know started telling me about all the fun things they were doing, and all the amazing things they were seeing. Since we don't have a tv, I haven't seen ANYTHING about the Olympics this year. So, I would say my favorite thing has been that even though I am about as far away as you can get from Canada, and living under a rock ( :P ), the Canadian spirit was still felt here, and it made me proud to be a Canadian!

  3. Have a good break Judy! The Olympics have been a great blogging experience! :0)
    I think my favorite this time around was the speed skating...

  4. Hi Judy, I loved coming here to check up on your view of the Olympics. It was like being there with you. I loved the ice dancing, but the speed skating was the most exciting for me.

  5. I've enjoyed all your photos of the Olympics, Judy. Thanks for sharing!
    Have a good blogging break! We'll miss you too!

  6. You can't give them away!!! Did you forget about the Paralympics????
    I will be holding on to mine and they will be put into my trophy chest along with the rest of my gear..
    Have a wonderful time...out in the warm waters...
    The Olympic spirit will remain in my heart forever.
    I loved our first Olympic Gold by Alex Bilodeau!

  7. Oh wow. .how do I decide what my favorite part of the games was? As a proud Canadian there were many moments that made me feel like our nation was more unified than it has been in a long while.
    I can't really count the today show. . .but they wouldn't have been here had it been for the Olympics.
    I would have to say my favorite moment was having Scott Moir tell me to hold his gold medal with my bare hands. ..I just thought that was incredibly gracious and sweet.

  8. Truly, what I enjoyed most about the winter games was the excitement in yours and Lovella's posts. I most enjoyed seeing the games through "the locals" eyes. Sadly, we were not able to watch much of the Olympics because our digital tv reception went on the fritz. I did love seeing Virtue and Moir take the gold for dancing being my favorite.

    Looks as if you're off for shorts and shifts weather. I hope that you have an amazing time and I'll miss you so pop in a post from some computer somewhere if you find a spare moment.

  9. HI Judy!

    I popped in for a few minutes before I tune in the closing ceremonies --Canada just beat the USA in hockey for the gold surprise!

    The Richmond Oval is a fabulous venue! You saw some exciting skating events! I'm sorry you lost your umbrella -- I can't tell you how many I've "donated" to fellow NYC subway

    I think the moment I'll never forget with these 2010 Olympics is the brave Joannie Rochette skating so beautifully just a few days after losing her Mother. I think the whole world was crying along with her when she finished each of her performances.

    Thank you so much for all your wonderful Olympic behind the scenes blogs! I enjoyed them all and feel like I had a virtual front seat for some of the events.
    I'd be honored to wear the red mittens if I won them!

    Have a wonderful blog break! You will be missed!

    ♥ Pat

  10. I loved hockey and curling and of course the ice dancers..oh and there are so many can I choose?? grin
    Thanks for taking us along on your 'trip to the Olympics'. One more time..'Go Canada Go' and 'go' the athletes did, they made ius proud!

  11. Judy, I hope you have a wonderful trip.

    I posted about the Olympics today, too. Congratulations to your country. You made us all proud for you.

    My hands do tend to get cold. ;-)

  12. I'm a regular on Anneliese's blog and the MGCC blog too. During the olympics (which I love), I've been sneaking a peak at your blog (and some others listed on Anneliese's sidebar) when I saw post titles related to the olympics. How fortunate you all were to have these events so close by (and to be able to pick up a pair of those lovely mittens)! ;-)

    As for my favorite thing about the olympics....I love learning the stories behind each and every athlete. And I love feeling the emotions that go along with watching the games, as a result of knowing those stories.

    Thanks for sharing firsthand about your olympic experiences!

  13. Thanks again Judy for the wonderful commentary on the Olympics. It has been great to see them through the eyes of a local.

    My favorite part of the Olympics is hearing the stories of the athletes and their families...especially Joannie Rochette and Alex Bilodeau. Please add my name to the draw...Calgary winters tend to be really cold...and I don't anything else red :(

  14. So glad you told what made those red places...cranberries! How creative and ecologically sound.

    I think red mittens would look great here in the other Winter Olympic city...include me in the drawing please!

  15. Please please please I want the mittens. Don't disquailify me because I'm your daughter. My favorite part of the olympics is that I got to go, and my least favorite part is that all the mittens were SOLD OUT!

  16. Love your blog. Have been reading it for the last year or so and really enjoy it. All the info on the Olympics and just your area in general make me want to visit. Living in S Texas we rarely see snow and seasons changing. You make them all seem so real and wonderful. One day I will get to that part of your beautiful country.

  17. Watching the Winter Olympics certainly took on a personal aspect for me since you and Lovella shared so much with us. I can't thank you enough for all you did for me and all of us in blogland. Your commentary and pictures were so very interesting.

    As for the red mittens...who wouldn't want to win them! Great gift!

    Have a fun break! Hope to see you soon. And, again thank you!

  18. It was really a treat seeing the Olympics through your hometown experience. My husband and I have really enjoyed the games.

    The hockey game...what can I say. We were sad for our guys, they all seemed pretty upset. But my husband and I both agreed it would have been much sadder to have seen the Canadians come in second. It was an amazing game. Hooray for Canada!

    We both also agreed that a trip to Canada was definitely on our list to do in the next few years.

    Have a great vacation Judy!

  19. I unfortunately did not see much of the winter olympics, but you've given such a good overview that I feel like I didn't miss them! Thanks for such a great post.


  20. My favorite thing at the Olympics was the inukshuk "garden" beside Science World (Socchi House). People were spontaneously going down by the water and making inukshuks out of the rocks that are the breakwater. There were hundreds of them saying, "I was here". And I was glad that I had braved the crowds and lineups and could also say, "I was here, too".

  21. You really sound as if you enjoyed the Olympic experience. Very familiar weather.

    Cannot enter your giveaway as I did not watch any of it. I am not a fan of spectator sport.

    Whether I will feel differently in 2012 when the main olympics are on my doorstep (aprox. 9 miles) I do not know!


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson