Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Teams are Arriving in the Village - 3 days to go!!!
With three days to go, all of the teams are arriving in Vancouver. Yesterday, today and tomorrow are expected to be the busiest days in the airport.
As the various countries arrive in the Village, they are greeted with a Team Welcome Ceremony at the International Plaza. Yesterday, I attended the ceremony welcoming Chile and Bulgaria.
The event started with the drumbeat of the Four Host Nations (First Nations). The teams were announced and they marched in, behind their flag. Next, an honour guard from Canada's military was led in by a Mountie in his red tunic. They were carrying the official flags of Chile and Bulgaria.
Rick Hansen, the Man in Motion, who serves as the mayor of the Vancouver Athletes Village, brought a warm welcome to these incoming teams. The announcer said that the Man in Motion tour raised more than $200 million for spinal cord research. I recall watching how fast Rick traveled in his wheelchair. After hearing Rick's eloquent speech, there was no doubt the organizers picked the right person to serve as the ambassador of the Village.
Each Chef de Mission was presented with a gift and the national anthems were played, as the honour guard raised the respective flag of the country.
The event ended with the lively song of the Olympics, with most of the team members dancing with the musicians and Olympic volunteers.
Also yesterday, Hayley Wickenheiser, captain of Canada's Womens Hockey team, visited the fitness centre. It was neat to see her in person.
Today, Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee will be touring the Village. Also, it will be the only time the media get a chance to be "inside the ropes".
Later this morning, I'll be in downtown New Westminster to watch the Olympic torch come through the community. It was announced that Walter Gretzky, Arnold Scharzenegger, Sebastien Coe and Rolly Fox (Terry's father) will be carrying the torch today. There has been no word of Wayne Gretzky or Betty Fox (Terry's mother) carrying the torch in the next few days, which means they are probably slated for the run during the Opening Ceremonies.
Tomorrow, I'll be attending the dress rehearsal of the Opening Ceremonies with my aunt. It should be a blast.
The Games open on Friday. Don't miss it!