TRI to keep it WILD - Raising funds for Nature Conservancy of Canada

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Olympics Wrap-Up

What an amazing setting for the Olympics. Vancouver is a beautiful city! We're back in California now. Seems like we got out at a good time as more and more people seemed to be pouring in each day. The number of people spewing forth from the airport when we were heading out was unbelievable! We were so lucky to get a reservation at the Hotel McClennan. Thanks Carol and Bruce!

Here we are at Whistler Olympic Park, the venue for ski jumping, nordic skiing, and biathlon.

French, German, and Norwegian superfans. I'm not sure what's up with the feathers on this guy.

Here's the stadium with (L to R) the shooting range, the start area, and the finish line. We saw women's 15k individual and men's 20k individual biathlon. The competitors start 30 seconds apart, and get a 1-minute penalty for any missed shots. There are 2 prone and 2 standing shootings, 5 shots each. The targets for prone are very small, and the targets for standing are a little bigger. In other biathlon events there is a penalty loop for missed shots. The skiing is freestyle, which means they are skating.

Check out the selection of skis. We were surprised by how much warming up the athletes were doing considering they were about to ski themselves silly. Guess they need to test out the waxes and the course conditions. It was maybe 5 degrees C so the snow was a little mushy. If you've ever tried skate skiing then you know how crazy it seems that these guys (and girls) compete in multiple biathlons with only a day or two of rest in between, and that they are able to hit these tiny targets with heart rates around 180 bpm.

A Canadian skier heading back out after one of the prone shootings.

An uphill on the way out. The spectating is limited to a very small part of the course.

J.P. Leguellec in the men's race. He did great! Finishing 13th with only 2 penalties.
Skiing with a gun: awesome.

An Italian shooter in the iconic biathlon pose.

Svendsen the Norwegian just meters from the finish. He took the gold with only 1 penalty, 10 seconds ahead of silver.

Amazingly there was a TIE for silver, so no bronze was awarded. Time is kept only to the nearest tenth of a second and there's no photo finish since the racers start at 30-second intervals. They have timing chips on their ankles like in a road race. Here's the legendary Norwegian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen. He was skiing fast to have caught the Belarussian Novikov. Novikov had no penalties and Bjoerndalen had 2! That means he skied 2 minutes faster over 20k. Wow!

We walked (and ran) a lot around Stanley Park, which seemed to have remained a well-kept secret until the day we were leaving. We checked in on this lady a few times. All the statues in the park were prepared for cold weather with their red mittens.

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