Thursday, July 26, 2012

My personal opening ceremonies

After our Grand Slam in Klagenfurt the team decided to travel early to the Olympic Village early in order to acclimatize to the British site and conditions. We left Klagenfurt at 6 AM, transferred in Vienna and landed to a warm welcoming in London before noon. 

We had pre-authorized accreditation which we had to get validated in the airport and then we were escorted from arrivals to catch an Olympic bus. We didn’t lift a thing or have to think about the logistics as volunteers kept popping up out of nowhere! The information crew was super excited to meet us and the UPS delivery team chatted with us for a bit about their experiences with famous athletes thus far. 

The bus driver was a well spoken old guy who was able to take us on a verbal tour while we made our way through town. We went close to the venue, saw Big Ben, experienced the river then took a turn to the village where we were first took in the magnitude of the Games. 

The village was GIGANTIC and from a distance we spotted the main stadium, the basketball gym and the athlete towers.  The Canadian building stood out like a sore thumb as it was highlighted with maple leaf flags and Canadian branding, similar to a proud Canadian traveller’s backpack!

The bus underwent a thorough security search and then we were dropped off at a secondary accreditation center to confirm out identities and scan our bags before getting shuttled to the front doors of our building. Sitting on the patios of the building were a couple hockey sticks so Josh and I went right for them. We then got after the red moose at the front door.

After a few picks we dropped our stuff in our rooms and went directly to the cafeteria to FEAST. Our beach delegation ate together and there were so many options to choose from! Pretty much every major type of national cuisine we covered, including Macdonald’s who had the largest ordering area.

We then went to our Canadian gear fitting at a small elementary school that the COC had rented out. We had a bunch of gear put together for us from the Hudson Bay Company so we tried every article on, made some alteration measurements and modeled to each other over a few laughs. I would reveal the clothing right now but as it stands the opening ceremonies gear is supposed to be a surprise!

We head back to the site, ate again and then caught up on a bunch of emails. We were tired and had an incredibly exciting day on a sleepless travel day.

Our first day was eye opening with regards to the magnitude of the games. We had amazing connections with volunteers from around the world and each one seemed to give me energy. The Canadian staff were so motivated to help us and were all Olympians who understood the importance of this event to each person, team and delegation. This is my first Olympics but I have been here in my dreams many times. Time to make everything a reality



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