Saturday, February 6, 2010

Counting down

The past week has been exhausting, but it's definitely worth it to see the excitement for the Games. I can't believe they are less that a week away!

Monday was business as usual in the office. I started my new schedule and worked from 2-11. It was nice to have the morning off, but it's a bizarre feeling to go straight from work to bed to work the next morning. We attempted to start our new transport system, but VANOC failed to tell us that despite all publications saying the buses would start on Feb. 1, they had decided to save money by starting on the 3rd instead. Might have been useful information to share…

On Tuesday, I worked at Creekside, where all the downhill skiing events will occur. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the venue because I sat in the trailer all day, working the helpdesk. I had to answer and record all cleaning needs. It was not the most exciting day, but definitely worthwhile to see what a day in the field is like for the snow management, cleaning, and waste team. Later that evening, we met with Scott Williams, who will be running the intern program over the next three weeks. Scott is EXTREMELY knowledgeable when it comes to facility and event management—he is the general manager of the arena where the Utah Jazz play and has been in the industry for years.

We’ll be having 5 “class days”, where we have morning discussion/lessons, then guest speakers, then afternoon venue tours. I’m looking forward to it—just nervous about how it’ll fit in with our work schedules. There are more interns coming from Johnson and Wales University tomorrow who will be able to cover our shifts, but it might be hard to teach them in two days what it’s taken us four weeks to learn.

Wednesday and Thursday were long days in the office again—started at 5 AM, checking to make sure people were on their buses. Somehow nobody knew what time to get on the bus, so I was running around and waking people up. Now I know what my mom felt like getting us up for school. We also started doing a daily newsletter that is the responsibility of the morning shift. Thursday night, we went to a meeting with all the venue managers. It was interesting to hear about the challenges of the individual venues, especially those I’m not familiar with.

Yesterday was one of the most incredible experiences I think I’ve ever had. After another morning shift at work, Sarah and I headed downtown. On the bus in, we saw members of the Czech Olympic team—we were trying so hard not to be creepy while still taking pictures on our cell phones. It’s a little hard to “stay cool” when you’re 3 feet away from Olympic Athletes. We went to the Irish Pub with Joey (Sarah’s boss), Coops and his wife, and Don (one of the drivers). It was great getting to know some of the team outside of the office. Then we went to the Skier’s Plaza, where the Olympic Torch was being lit for the night. It was insanely crowded—kind of what I’d imagine Times Square to be like on New Years Eve. First it was nearly completely dark…then we could just see a faint light at the top of the slope. The flame carrier was being towed in on a snowmobile. Right at the peak of the hill, the flame was passed to a skier, who came down the slope with it. The crowd was going absolutely crazy. The flame was then passed to a teenager from Whistler, the chosen community torchbearer, who lit a cauldron on a huge stage. As someone who has ALWAYS loved the symbolism and unity of the Games, it was awe inspiring to see. A local children’s choir sang a song that is apparently being performed at every stop on the torch relay.

Afterwards, we got to hold (and get a picture with) one of the torches that was actually used in the relay. A girl standing behind us in the crowd was the daughter of one of the torchbearers. It was so cool! On the way home, we saw members of the Canadian Olympic Team on the bus…it finally seems real that the Games will be here in 6 days!

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