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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What a mess

Day 6 of the Olympics and Day 5 of competition

Well, let me tell you about my day.  I awoke with a start at 5:15am and stumbled into the bathroom to brush my teeth and strat the process of getting ready.  I was putting my face on with my eyes half closed and eating a banana at the same time.  I made my way back into the bedroom to get into my snow pants, longs leeve shirt, wrap up my foot, stuff my feet into two pairs of socks, put on my fleece vest and into my jacket.  Last thing before locking the doors, grab my backpack and gloves.  I was off to the train to waterfront station and on to the seabus over to the Lonsdale Quay to catch my bus for the 2 hour ride up to Whistler.  I was now wide awake and excited.  However, the excitement died when I used the ladies room at the seabus and noticed, in my half-awake state, that I had mascara on only one eye and I put put blush on only one cheek.  Great, now I looked like a lop-sided clown.  I spent some time trying to wipe it off in the bathroom with just water.  By the time I left, I looked like I had a black eye and I looked ill.  In removing the one cheek of blush I now looked pale and sick.  I was off to a great day.  Because I took the extra time to try to fix my face, I had to run for my bus.  Thankfully, they held it for me.

2 hours later, at 8:45am I was walzting through the security check point at Whistler Olympic Park.  I signed in for my first full day at a chaperone for the anti-doping team.  I was pretty happy.  One more bus ride to the venue centre for my day at cross-country skiing.  I somehow got turned around as I exited the check-in tent and was forced to mae an extra run through security.  I am now on a first name basis with Bob - operator of the security wand.

Since I didn't have to check in to my station until 10:30, I had an hour and a half to kill.  I wandered over the ski jump area where they were holding pracise runs prior to tomorrows event.  It was amazing.  They go flying by you and you really feel the wind and they land with such force that I am sure if I was standing a little bit closer, you would feel the vibration on the ground.  They are averaging about 95 KM an hour.  Unfortunately, unless something changes tomorrow, I don't think the Canadian's will do so well tomorrow.  Our longest practise jump was 119.5 metres while the German's posted a 145M jump.  The average seemed to be about 130M.

Time was up.  I reported in and recieved all the documents, doping passes and water (for the athlete) and made my way to the Ladies cross-country sprints.  Today, we were testing the top 5 and 3 random athletes.  I was told that I would take a random (they tell you the number after the race) since I had experience in doing this previously.  It was some one elses tunr for a medalist (I had a world cup gold last year).  I waited and watched everything going on.  It is somewhat organized chaos behind the scenes.

The way the cross-country sprint works is similar to snowboarding.  They would run 5 heats and the top 2 winners from each heat would move on.  At the end of the semi's there would be 4 top finishers.  At that point 2 "lucky losers" would also make the final based on their overall times.  If your random sample athlete actually made it through then they would not be tested until the end. 

 I was told I would have #14, a Russian woman.  My supervisor told me she did not make it through as she came in 3rd in her heat.  I was to notify her of being chosen for dope testing.  Along for the ride as an observer was a member of WADA (world anti-doping association).  They are watching that we do everything right as we answer to them first and the IOC second.  So, my supervisor and I go up to #14 and I start in with my spiel.  She turned on me and started to yell.  I was told to just keep going.  I was still at it when she took off into the media area.  She was yelling at me over her shoulder.  She then came back into the notification area and her coach appeared.  Now they were both yelling at me in Russian.  I did my best to explain.  Then she was off again.  Each country has a wax room.  She ducked inside, slamming the door in my face.  The rules state I must keep her within 6-10 feet until the process is over and in my line of vision at all times.  She was on a walkie-talkie yelling about doping.  Now 3 coaches showed up and they were all yelling at me.  The WADA woman tried to interpret and explained I had just been sworn at in Russian.

My supervisor then shows up again and tells me to leave since there was an error and she had moved on and therefore she would be tested as part of the top 5 finishers.   I had just gotten back to the finish line when I was notified there was a mistake and she didn't make it and I had to go back to her.  To make a very long story short - we repeated this 4 times.  Mistake - she made it - no she didn't.  #14 was livid and decided on the last one to take it out on me.  She decided to go for a full out run.  The WADA person told me to go, I had to stay with her.  Let me tell you, I was dying and would have very happily tripped her with her own ski pole at that point.  I dropped my backpack as I tried to keep up.  Picture this old broad trying to stay with an Olympic athlete - while running on a fractured foot.  I actually did ok.  She then realized I wasn't going anyway so she started running for the race track.  I followed as far as I could because she then popped on a pair of skis and took off.  NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN for me to follow that.  I was defeated.  My first day, and I blew it.

When I limped back to my area, my supervisor told me it was in fact a mistake and she was going through to the finals.  It was embarrasing to say the least.  However, the WADA rep did come up and say I had provided some lively entertainment as as I chased after her.  I was rewarded for the fiasco with another athlete.  I got the gold medal winner from Norway.  She was lovely and co-operative.  They felt it best that another volunteer be asigned to the lovely #14 Russian nightmare.  Turns out it was a good thing as she filed a complaint against me. 

I was just doing as I was told and I end up being sworn at in Russian, run off my feet and was entertainment to the masses.

Once I had the other ahtlete, it was a blast.  I was with her through the media scrum.  This is where the media are put in little pens along the back of the finish line and the athletes have to make thier way through before heading to the press conferences.  She was there a long time as everyone wanted a wee interview.  The doping rules state the athlete only has 60 minutes from the time I notify them.  We needed an extra 30 minutes.

The day was picture perfect in terms of weather.  It was almost too warm.  I had to take off my vest and gloves and wished I didnt have the extra socks or tights.

I think however, I may have overdone it with my foot.  I had to give up most of my shifts.  I am going to try it again on Friday and then my last one will be next Thursday.  I am quite upset and really mad at myself.  These people on the 2 inch wide skis actually are much more graceful than I am on my feet.

Anyway, today's picture is of the ski jumping.

Stay tuned.  I am off to bed now after a 16 hour day

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