The Olympic/Paralympic party is nearly over

21/03/2010

Today is the last day of the 2010 Winter Paralympic Games and it is three weeks since the end of the Olympic Games.  They say all good things must come to an end…but this quick, come on!!!  It only seems like five minutes since the IOC awarded the Games to Vancouver in the first place.

The Paralympic Closing Ceremony is taking place in Whistler Medals Plaza today and I wish I was there to see it because it will be fantastic.  I am pleased to hear Whistler is getting to bring down the curtain on what has been a fantastic event.  The locals in Whistler have done a huge amount of work and deserve to see the Closing Ceremony on their on door step.

For anyone in Whistler reading this and don’t know the times: the event will start with the athletes parade along the Village Stroll at 6:45 p.m.   The Closing Ceremony will celebrate more than 500 Paralympic athletes from 44 countries and the entire show will be broadcast on Whistler Live! screens.  Wrap up and get out there and see the last hurrah of the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.


Twitter Olympics

17/03/2010

Although I love using the internet, I have never been a great fan, or indeed seen the point, of social media.  However, up to a point, I have changed my mind.  When I was asked by my office to blog my Olympic experience I decided to use Twitter and Facebook too.  Both became valuable tools in keeping me up to speed with what was going on at the Games; who was doing what; how long the lines were at the zipline on Robson Square, the Mint and the Olympic Superstore; and if it was going to snow at Whistler.

My office kindly gave me a Blackberry for use while I was at the Games and I loaded on WordPress, Twitter and Facebook, which were all linked together.  This wee gadget in my hand provided me with all I needed when I was out and about to update my blog and keep updated on Games news.

I enjoyed writing this blog when in Canada but I will confess that sometimes it did feel like homework at the end of a long day.  I was always aware that people back home were looking to find out what I had been up to and I felt obliged to maintain and provide some sort of update.  Some days were easier than others because some days my work was the same with no points of interest.  Other times were easier to write about or seemed a bit more interesting (to me anyway).

I have had a lot of good feedback to my blog.  People have written to me from many countries to thank me for doing my blog and keeping them informed about my activities and views on the Games.  As I write, my blog has had just over 23,000 hits which astonishes me but it is really good know that my efforts have been noticed and others have been taking an interest…thank you to all.

Unfortunately, as per the nature of the internet, I also received some inappropriate comments from a number of anonymous sad people.  I am thankful for WordPress’s moderating facility.

Twitter is a great source of information, especially if you ‘follow’ the right ‘Tweeter’.  I follow most things to do with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Vancouver, Whistler, BC, Canada, Team GB and other relevant areas of interest.  I also follow other bloggers and Games-related Tweeters.

I will admit that I not totally into the workings of Twitter but find it interesting that when someone I am following re-tweets a piece of information to their followers and then it re-tweets again and some well-known names appears with their comments.  Seeing the names of the Governor General of Canada, Lindsey Vonn or Joannie Rochette appear on my Twitter is odd and fascinating.

Although the accident had been reported on the news, I read somewhere that someone on Twitter was first to deliver the sad news to the world that Nodar Kumaritashvili, the luger from Georgia, had died while training at the Whistler Sliding Centre, before it made the news.  I heard about this tragic news from my cousin by the old fashion telephone method, mind you I was using a mobile phone while sitting on the Canada Line.

Facebook allowed me to keep up to date with my Team 2010 colleagues and other information from home.

I also had my laptop with me and I did three live interviews on CBC News which were all broadcast using the webcam and Skype.  I also did a live telephone interview with Radio Scotland from my cousin’s house in Vancouver .  She sat in the next room listening to me via Radio Scotland’s website.  You gotta love technology!

There is no doubt that technology now plays a huge part in major events such as the Games.  Athletes can send messages to their fans, the media picks up any tidbits of news and write an easy news article in their paper or blog based on what the athlete wrote.  Celebrity blogging/tweeting makes life easy for journalists.

It is anyone’s guess what forms of communication we will be using at London 2012 and Glasgow 2014.


CTV’s Brian Williams’ Sign-off from Vancouver 2010

15/03/2010

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I think it is fair to say…

15/03/2010

I am suffering from post-Olympic depression/withdrawal.  I have downloaded and watched the Olympic events I missed or wanted to see again.  I have also been watching the Paralympic Games on the web and wishing I was still over in BC in the thick of it, enjoying volunteering, helping the athletes, generally having a great time.

And to make matters worse, the snow is falling in Whistler, something it never did when I was there.  I really wanted to experience a winter Games in a winter environment but it never happened but I leave BC and two days later the winter conditions return.  As we say over here, nae luck!

I have been home almost a week and I am still not into any routine, except getting up and going to work.  My sleeping pattern is all over the place, averaging about two hours a night at different times of the night – 10 til 12 or 4 til 6 or any other combination in between.  They say when travelling back from Canada to the UK it takes one day’s recovery for every time zone crossed (8 from Vancouver to Edinburgh) and it is worse travelling east.  The joys of jet lag!!

Of course, I am also missing Vancouver, a city I never tire of.  Sometimes I wish I could do a job exchange with someone in Vancouver.  Hmmm…maybe I could wangle an exchange to learn more about the ‘Own the Podium’ initiative and my counterpart could come to Scotland and give the benefit of their experience in Games planning, legacy or something.

I am also missing everyone I know over there.  I feel as though I never spent a great deal of time with anyone because of my work schedule or other Olympic activity.

And throw in for good measure that today is Monday and the start of a full working week.

I am already wondering where I can travel to next.  I have no plans to go anywhere right now but there is a chance I could be going to Delhi in October for the Commonwealth Games.  Other than that possibility the rest of 2010 will be spent at home.

Oh well, it’s time for a wee lie down.


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 😦


The Paralympic Symbol and Motto

13/03/2010

The symbol of the Paralympic Games is composed of three Agitos, colored red, blue and green, encircling a single point, on a white field.

The Agito (meaning “I move” in Latin language) is a symbol of movement in the shape of an asymmetrical crescent.

The colours of the agitos with the white background stand for the three colours that are most widely represented in national flags around the world.

The Paralympic motto is “Spirit in Motion”.  The motto was introduced in 2004 at the Paralympic Games in Athens.

The previous motto was “Mind, Body, Spirit”, introduced in 1994


Watch the 2010 Paralympic Games live on the web

13/03/2010

The Paralympic Games can be viewed live on Paralympic Sport TV – http://ow.ly/1jjlZ