Who would have thought it…

07/12/2010

…but I am wearing my Vancouver 2010 volunteer’s blue jacket almost every day because of the on-going winter weather in Scotland.  I have many other jackets but I like wearing my blue jacket best because I can layer and it had loads of pockets for my bits and pieces.

It is currently midnight and it is -16 degrees in Edinburgh.  We haven’t had a winter like this since 1963, although experts say it may be longer than that.  We have had record amounts of snow, continued low temperatures for almost two weeks and, other than a forecasted balmy few days this coming weekend, it is to be like this until the end of the year at least!

I love this weather but it has been having a significant effect on my travel to work.  On a couple of days last week I took public transport and it took two buses and 2.5 hours from door to door, and back again.  I like walking in the snow and love taking photos.

Winter Wonderland

Some days I have more Olympic gear on than you could buy in the Olympic Superstore – today I had on a white 2010 Olympic toque; my volunteer’s blue jacket and ski pants; my Canadian Olympic scarf and the famous red mittens.  All that’s missing are my winter boots which happen to be lying in a cupboard in my cousin’s house in Vancouver!!!  Who’s idea was it to leave them behind until the next visit…oh yeah, it was mine!

 


Wheelchair Curling

13/03/2010

Wheelchair curling differs from Olympic curling in that the teams are required to be mixed-gender and since no sweeping is allowed to keep a rock straight, shooting has to be precise.

Wheelchair curling only has eight ends compared to 10 in traditional curling, so the mid-game break comes after the fourth end.

And today, in the opening game, Canada beat Great Britain 9-2 in seven ends, in what was a rematch of the gold medal final from four years ago in Torino.

I hope the GB wheelchair curling team is not going to go the same way as the Olympic team 😦


Well done Amy Williams

20/02/2010

Team GB won its first medal yesterday, and it was Gold for Amy Williams in the Skeleton at Whistler.  It was unexpecteded but a fantastic result for GB.

John and Sinead Kerr are lying 8th after the first compulsory dance in the Ice Dancing competition with two more rounds to come.

Our curling teams are having mixed performamces and today could be crucial as the mens team is playing China and Canada.

Come on Team GB!!


Olympic Fact #1

12/02/2010

Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong (‘The Snow Leopard’), the very first alpine skier ever to represent Ghana at a Winter Olympic Games, was actually born in Glasgow in 1974.  His father was studying for a masters degree at the city’s University.  He grew up in Ghana before returning to Britain.


Scots in Team GB

11/02/2010

MEN’S CURLING TEAM

David Murdoch (Skip), Euan Byers, Pete Smith, Ewan MacDonald. Alternate: Graeme Connal. Coach: David Hay.

Murdoch is world champion and recently won a big tournament in Canada, beating the hosts for the fourth time in a row.

WOMEN’S CURLING TEAM

Eve Muirhead (Skip), Lorna Vevers, Kelly Wood, Jackie Lockhart. Alternate: Annie Laird. Coach: Nancy Murdoch.

Britain won gold in 2002 and have a rising star in 19-year-old skip Muirhead. Came third in recent tournament against other Olympic nations.

BOBSLEIGH

Gillian Cooke. Age: 27

Former long jumper took up sport after a foot injury in 2008 and became world champion with partner Nicola Minichiello last year.

ICE DANCING

John Kerr, 29 and Sinead Kerr, 31

West Lothian siblings were tenth at the 2006 Games and fifth at last month’s European Championships. Ranked fifth in world.

HALFPIPE SNOWBOARDING

Lesley McKenna, 35

Aviemore woman did well to qualify for third consecutive Olympics against the odds.

HALFPIPE SNOWBOARDING

Ben Kilner, 21

Banchory youngster is ranked 26th in the world, and goes into Games in good form.

SPEED SKATING:

Elise Christie, 19

Falkirk teenager was sixth in 1,500m at last year’s European Championships and will also compete in short track at 500m and 1000m.

ALPINE SKIING

Andy Noble, 25

Edinburgh giant slalom skier will be making his Olympic debut. Ranked outside top 100.

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

Andrew Musgrave, 19

Cross-country skier from Huntly was ninth at the World Junior Championships in 2008.

CROSS COUNTRY SKIING

Andrew Young, 17

Also from Huntly, the youngster’s father Roy coaches the British cross-country team.


On the radio today

11/02/2010

I have just been interviewed live on Radio Scotland.  This has been in the planning for a few days and finally happened this morning.  I was asked about the snow conditions at Cypress and Whistler, the kind of work I have been doing as a volunteer and what I thought of the Opening Ceremony dress rehearsal.  I kept shtum about the OC but I said the snow at Cypress had improved overnight and that the athletes and officials were happy with the Olympic runs for snowboarding and freestyle skiing.

While I was being interviewed my cousin Margaret was listening to me on Radio Scotland’s online channel.  How technology has changed since I first visited Canada, when it took me about 2 weeks to find out the football results or never knowing the news from back home unless it was an important piece of news and it made the headlines on the Canadian network.

Today I am going Downtown Vancouver to have a walk about the pavilions and see the action.  Then tonight Margaret and I are going out to see the Torch Relay on the penultimate day of its run across Canada.  The weather right now is a bit driech so hopefully it will improve by then.


Day 1 and my jaunt downtown

29/01/2010

It is just after 4am here in Vancouver and mid-day in the UK (8 hour for those trying work out the time difference) and I am wide awake.  Rather than fitting t sleep I decided it was an ideal opportunity to update further my first day in Vancouver.

After a slow morning having breakfast and chatting with my cousin I ventured out heading the direction of Downtown Vancouver.  I was  handed the keys of the van and off I set.  I love driving here, it seems much more laid back without too many aggressive drivers (I am sure the locals may disagree).  I had decided not drive all the way into town but took the new Canada Line train, which travels between Vancouver Airport and the Waterfront in Vancouver.  I went to the main hub on Georgia Street and when I came up from the station I was greeted with the Hudson Bay Company decked out in support of the Canadian Olympic team.  Other buildings were dressed up for the occasion too.  The place looks absolutely fantastic, even if it was a bit of a grey day.

Hudson Bay Company

Maple Leaf

I went for a wee a wee wander, taking it all in, getting a feel for what is about to happen.  There is still a lot of work going on – a lot of activity in the front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.  In front the Gallery is the Olympic and Paralympic countdown clocks.  It was certainly the photo stop for visitors and I seemed to be the designated snapper!!  I met people from Germany, Italy, Japan and, of course, Canada.  After the universal sign language of the world – the moving of the arms and hands – I did manage to have my photo taken in front of the clock (yes, SGLD, I am really here!).

Vancouver 2010 Countdown Clock

I then went into the Bay to visit the Olympic superstore – it is huge! Where you can buy every conceivable piece of Olympic and Paralympic merchandise…I will be back another day to do my shopping.

Olympic Superstore in the Bay

While in there I win to the Coca Cola Pin Trading Centre where folks have pins laid out on tables to show and trade.  There was quite the selection and many of which I have in my own collection.  The guy from Coca Cola started chatting to me and asked me if I had to a pin to stick on the world pin wall…which I did.  I also had the good fortune to have my photo taken with Olympic Torch.

Coca Cola Pin Trading Centre

Olympic Pin Trading Centre

Scotland is on the map at the 2010 Olympics

Olympic Torch

While in the area of the pins I got chatting with four BC ladies who were in town, looking around and doing some Olympic shopping.  Turned out that these ladies are into their curling in a big way…the knew the Scottish teams well, one even commented how “buff” David Murdoch and his team are.   I was winding them up telling them that the GB teams will be taking the gold medals home and I got the same banter back, it was great fun and good laugh.  We chatted for ages and we have agreed to meet after the curling is over to say “I told you so” only they want to go to the pub to do so the loser can by the drinks!  You are on ladies!

Curling - GBR v CAN - who will win ladies?

Just at that point the Canadian women’s curling team appeared for a signing session and the curling ladies were almost first in line to get something, anything signed and they recruited me as their photographer, and I was happy to oblige.  One of the ladies told the curlers who I was and that I was predicting gold for GB and we all had a good laugh about it and I gave them Scottish pins and wished them good luck for the Games.

Canadian Women's Curling team

I took loads of photos today and I am loving my new camera.  I have uploaded a few to Flickr.

I am delighted to be back Vancouver and I so pleased that this beautiful city is welcoming the sporting world and I know it will put on show to remember.

I am going back to bed, I’m getting tired.  Apologies for any typos, blame fatigue!

Thanks for reading.