Saturday, February 13, 2010

opening ceremonies, the venue, drug testing, and last but not least, my wonderful husband!

Hey Everyone,

Here is the "mondo-post" that I've been wanting to write for a while. I have my new camera...... and finally have a couple of extra minutes. I've delayed training this am because theoretically I wanted to sleep in. (I say "theoretically" because I was woken up this morning by random drug testing) We returned from opening ceremonies last night at 1am. Getting down and back to and from Vancouver took forever. That said, I don't regret my decision to go to the opening ceremonies at all. (Some folks opted to stay behind and watch on tv) This being my first Olympics, I was really looking forward to marching!

Although there were tons of long waits the energy was incredible... on probably 50 different occasions our whole group burst out in "USA, USA, USA" chants.  I won't say that I'm usually the most patriotic person on the block but I think I can speak for everyone that this was a time when we were all really proud to be Americans! 


Here is our flag-bearer.... he is a 5-time Olympian and two-time medalist.  Speaking of lugers (sp?) the hardest part of last night's ceremony was the announcement that the Georgian Luger, Nodar, had actually passed away from his accident. I feel horrible for his family, his teammates, and of course him. All 40,000 or 60,000 (?) of us last night had one minute of silence to honor him and his Olympic dream. 

But, onto happier things.... Here is the view just before entering the stadium: 

Everyone always talks about "the moment" that you first enter the stadium... it was pretty incredible.  I think that I had about 10 seperate episodes of full-body goose bumps!  I think it's finally sinking in that I am at the Olympic games! 

Here is a picture of Compton with Shawn White and Bode Miller. I wanted to get a picture too but I could tell that Bode, especially, wasn't too psyched about fan-fare amongst his own teammates and decided against it. Good for Caitlin though to just dive right in! 

Caitlin and I were in line right next to the figure skaters so it was interested to talk with them. One of the ice dancers had a HUGE scar on her hand from a fall where her partner's skate cut her hand to the bone: 

It might be hard to see in this picture but it was an awesome scar. I also thought it was interesting that she was only 19 yet had been skating with her ice-dancing partner for 10 YEARS!  That means they've been working together since they were 9 years old!  

Here are a couple more pictures of us staging in Whistler before getting on the buses: 

Most of the cross country squad... 

And my Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center teammates, Kikkan, James, and myself rocking the Ralph Lauren... 

Back to the skiing! Training yesterday was awesome. Erik and I tested skis after getting a sweet pic in the waxing cabin:

It's HARDLY freezing at night.  The first 2k of my ski was semi-frozen water-logged snow. By the second lap, everything was breaking up and the fast downhill corners literally had 6-10 inches of HEAVY SLOP.  Try that at high speeds with tiny skis. I think it would even be a challenge for the super G skiers! We're wondering if they will ever salt parts of the course in an effort to get it more firm? 

I have NO IDEA why Sarah Palin is on the door of our waxing cabin....? I've already had a couple of questions from other countries when they find out I'm from Alaska. 

Here is the stadium

This is a train-track for a camera that can film the finishing stretch. They also have cameras that travel via telephone wires suspended in mid-air plus tons of cameras operated by people on the course. Should make for great coverage! 

Here I am in the Olympic stadium with my training bib on. You can't go anywhere without the thing

Last but CERTAINLY not least, I want to thank my husband Rob who has been working double time on my behalf: 

Not only is he still working fulltime as a firefighter but he has been busting his butt trying to help me out with the blog, trip logistics, helping me get the gear I need, the whole "GO HOLLY" campaign, and trying to help line up a couple of sponsorships for me.  In addition, he's doing everthing at home - cleaning, paying bills, setting up our house sitter (Erin you rock!) taking care of the cat.  The poor guy hasn't gotten to work out in 3 days!  (If you know Rob, that is a giant sacrifice!)  Without him this whole Olympic pursuit certainly wouldn't be possible. I owe all of this time him - he was in fact, the person who told me I could make the team when I didn't believe it myself....... I am very excited that he will be joining me down here tomorrow. I only hope that he has a chance to relax and enjoy the great aspects of the Games. Thanks so much for everything Rob - I love you!  

Ok, off to late training.... I'll end on one of the latest hair-dying pictures: 

Thanks APU boys! 

Have a wonderful day, 
Holly :)