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The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games Are a Marathon Race for Locals

Evening crowd on Robson St. downtown Vancouver 2010

I’m spending the evening watching the 2010 Vancouver Olympics on TV, cozy on the couch with my dog sleeping at my feet. Although my North Shore home is just a short hop over the Lion’s Gate bridge, it’s a world away from the downtown crowds and celebrations.

I look over as my young adult kids outfit themselves in anything and everything red and white, loudly and proudly declaring their Canadian identity.  One son even goes so far as to don a red clown wig with a Santa hat on top and then pins a Canadian flag to his parka.  They’re making final preparations for their own Olympic event – celebrating with the world at the myriad of free events in downtown Vancouver.  I’m exhausted just watching them.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s fantastic, all this partying and celebrating and free events and pin trading and……it’s like Disneyland for adults.  Youngish adults.  Adults much younger than I am apparently.  The question is: how long can they last?  For Vancouver natives, the 2010 Olympics is a Marathon event.

I’ve run a lap or two around the Olympics and discovered that I really like having my North Shore haven into which I can retreat.  Lonsdale Quay is a way station for Russian Sailors, North Shore inhabitants and visitor after visitor after visitor making their way via Seabus , then Skytrain to the heart of the celebratory action.  Yesterday I was one of the guilt driven and honest few to pay the transit fare to join the throng of people and cameras.

I made my way down to the foot of Burrard and got within a lifeguard-chaired, mega-phoned, blue clad volunteer, to the Olympic flame.  I walked along the new pietonne, otherwise known as Granville Avenue.  Past the long snaking line of people in front of the Canadian Mint slowly moving toward a visit with an Olympic medal.  Separated myself with the help of a blue metal fence from those waiting their turn inside The Bay; supplier of the must-have item of Van2010 – the ubiquitous red mittens.  Even Oprah has a pair!

The closer I got to Robson Square, the more people I encountered and the more I wanted to run the other way.  Fast.  Pushing people in a very impolite, un-Canadian way as I went.  Turns out I don’t like crowds very much, especially when they get in my way.  

So many happy and excited people gathered together!  The energy is truly palpable.  But, again, how long can the locals last bathing in this energetic atmosphere?  How can we make it through the ‘so much to see and do, I don’t want to miss a thing’ – Olympics?

Visitors are here solely to take in the 2010 games and accompanying events.  They can take it easy if they have a late night.  Most are here for a short visit, a week at the most.  For Vancouverites, the 2010 Olympics is an added adventure to our calendar.  We still have to work, clean the house, make dinner, and take the kids to school.  Our challenge is to last through the marathon of the 2010 Olympics without succumbing to exhaustion induced illness.

My solution is to take refuge on my couch and to cheer our athletes on in a virtual fashion.  I’ll leave the live celebrations to my younger and more energetic kids. Go Canada!









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