I told you all about the hockey games, but Kris and I also got a couple of other tickets too… and I am so glad we did! It exposed us to these sports that we knew so little about and rarely have the chance to see (maybe only once every four years) so, for that reason alone, it was worth it.
Oh yeah. I think curling just may be climbing that list as my 2nd favorite Winter Olympic sport… but it’s really hard to figure since there are so many good ones. But seriously, curling is awesome. I had no idea what I was missing until we checked out the Men’s Round Robin round last Friday. The game itself is quite strategic – like chess on ice! – but it was once again the amazing fans and Olympic atmosphere that help you get all caught up in the moment. Curling matches are usually more quiet like golf matches – the crowd is hushed and then there is some light applause when the player does well… well, Olympic curling in Canada is another matter all together.
It was raucous. Cowbells, face paint, flag waving, random singings of national anthems. It’s serious business.
We entered the Olympic ticket lottery almost two years ago, and I just randomly checked curling because I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn about it… so glad I did. Now, I can’t wait to actualy try it! We got Men’s tickets, but I wish we had scored some Women’s too – it is just so neat to watch. The Canadian team is 9-0, an amazing streak. The US is not faring as well, but they are young (they look like college students) and have more time to develop. Here is a short video I took as the games were going on. What you DON’T see on TV is that there are four games going on simultaneously on four different sheets of ice. So, there is always something to watch and cheer for! The day we were there, it was China/Norway, US/France, Canada/Denmark, and Germany/Switzerland.
Kris and I studied the Wikipedia guide to Curling before we went to the game (while watching some matches on TV) and generally learned about the strategy. It’s fascinating!
We also got a change of scenery as we made our way across the channel to North Vancouver en route to Cypress Mountain. Cypress is the location for the snowboard competitions, and freestyle skiing – moguls, ski/board cross, and aerials. We had tickets for the Men’s Aerials qualification round, so we got to see some high-flying acrobatics! It was amazing. And it was also freezing! (Vancouver has been so balmy and spring-like that Cypress was a bit of a shock – and a reminder of home with some snow on the ground… but we layered up!)
There were 25 skiiers from many different countries, and the top 12 competitors (with a combined score from their two runs) goes on to the competition round on Thursday. Our tickets were for standing room, so we saw a nice view of the skiier coming down the mountain, but it was harder to see their landing, so we were looking up at the projection screens for that. After each run, the little army of blue Olympic volunteers would go and inspect the snow and repack it to make it safe for the next competitor. They were truly “shovel-ready”!
From this short video, you can see how fast each run is – the skiier comes down from the top right and BOOM! hits the podium and flies up and twists and flips and curls all around… and then… (usually) lands on their feet. It’s jaw-dropping. Some of the skiiers got to 50 ft in the air on one jump! Scary – but amazing too!
…and Kris and I watched from down below with huge smiles on our faces! )…