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11th Feb 2010 – Olympic Excitement in Vancouver

February 11, 2010

It’s less than 36 hours until the eagerly anticipated Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. This is the time that the organising committee as well as local and national governments have been preparing for this since Vancouver was selected as the host city by the International Olympic Committee in 2003. There is much speculation and discussion on websites or just amongst strangers on public transport on who has the merits to light the Olympic flame in the BC Place stadium.

I didn’t especially come to Vancouver for the Olympics despite being an avid sports watcher in my years. I originally wanted to come because of the reputation of Canada and the Vancouver area for outdoor sports and for the mountain scenery. I had feared that the Olympics would disrupt my desire to learn to ski or snowboard and so maybe this would be a bad time to be here. Thankfully I was wrong as there are still ski hills open to the public and the atmosphere surrounding the Games is only proving to contribute to an already exciting experience. The only not so convenient side for me and those living/working in downtown Vancouver or needing to travel through it is the road closures and the extra people already on public transport even before the Games have begun. Despite the fact that many public transport improvements have been made in anticipation of hosting the games as well as other improvements to the city, it is still going to be a busy time. Bicycle-friendly trains are unfortunately not so friendly for the duration but the buses continue to be bicycle-friendly with space for two bicycles on a fold-down rack on the front.

The city is already alive with excited visitors, folk in team kit, performing artists and light displays. The Vectorial Elevation interactive robotic light show in English Bay is attracting particular attention using twenty large robotic searchlights whose beams can be seen from a distance of nearly 10 miles and create patterns that can be programmed by anyone with access to the internet. Click here for picture

The place feels bright even at night with fairy lights in trees throughout downtown, Granville Island and the suburbs. Even the buses are friendly, greeting me and others with such things as “Welcome 2 Canada” and “Welcome World” on their destination displays. Many other patriotic displays urge “Go Canada Go”, “Go Team Canada” and “Go 4 Gold Canada”

Around the city there are many other signs that the Olympics are here with almost every company making some association with the Games. From confident statements from a clothing company “We Were Made for This” to a lager company stating “Bring the ‘cold’ home”. Department stores display manikins riding chair lifts posing with skis and boots and I’ve even seen the yeti in ski gear and race bib in one shop window!

Of course tickets for the Opening Ceremony have long been sold but many people have had a chance to experience them during the rehearsals and the rest of us who haven’t got tickets will be able to be a part of the event at one of the open-air celebrations sites in the city complete with big-screen and various entertainment acts. That’s where I’ll be, amongst the buzz.

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