Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Olympics start on Friday!!

It is hard to believe that Salt Lake was 4 years ago. I was in Calgary at the time and since Calgary is in the same time zone, and is situated at about the same altitude, and still has world class facilities because the winter games were there in '88, just about ALL of the athletes were there tuning up for the games. So of course we saw them all come through us on their way to Salt Lake City and let me tell you it was a BLAST.

Air Canada sent a plane down chuck full of the Canadian team members and what was hysterical was that somebody decided that the women's hockey team's equipment would go on this flight even though the women's hockey team wasn't on board. So what happened was that about half the luggage was left off the flight. That luggage was then put on a truck for the 14 hour drive down to Salt Lake. So a lot of those people, mainly the figure skating team, the speed skating team, and all the officials arrived in Salt Lake to find out that their luggage did not make it on to the flight.

The women's hockey team went down on a flight a couple of days later and yours truly happened to have a white team Canada hat and now has the autograghs of the entire gold medal winning team on the hat. I told them to go win gold and they asked why I wanted them to win and I said "because I met you girls and you were so nice and you're in it to win it now go do it" and they were so touched by my remarks that I'm sure it carried them to victory.

All of the athletes were issued their credentials prior to traveling and we were supposed to check to make sure that they had them. Well here comes the entire Russian bobsled and luge contingent and NOBODY speaks English and we don't speak Russian and I was in secondary with them and we were making hand signals and we were chanting "GO U.S.A." and they were chanting what probably translated to "you guys are sons of motherless goats" but we were ALL laughing and then here comes the ENTIRE Russian speed and figure skating contingent and THEY have the credentials for the bobsled and lugers and hands were shaken and good lucks were wished and they all made the flight.

And then the Canadian ski team came through and I got some pins from one of the guys and I told him to go win gold.

And then the German curlers came through, and the Chinese speed and figure skaters gave me a pin, and the American women's curling team gave me a pin which I gave to a friend who works for United Airlines because his dad collects curling pins. You see, with me it was the experience of meeting all these people and then the pin would get tossed in a drawer instead of being a part of somebody's display of pins that has the really cool story of unexpected kindness.

Then the Irish bobsled team came through and gave me a t shirt that was way too small because there aren't too many 260 pound bobsleders so I gave that to a friend I work with who's Irish to give to his sister and EVERYBODY in the pub in Chicago went nuts when she walked in wearing it.

Then the German ski team came through and gave me a patch that I sent to a friend of German descent.

What a week that was. In total I would guess that 90% of the athletes came through the airport at Calgary.

That was my Olympic experience.

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