Sorry it took so long for the blog! Here is my "official" thoughts.
The Olympics were an amazing experience. I was a forerunner for the women’s Alpine GS and SL events. Even though I was not officially a competitor, I had the same experience as a competitor because I still left out of the same start gate, ran the same course, went through the same finish line…just about 2 minutes ahead of everyone else. A forerunners job is to test out the course to make sure it runs well and will be fair for the racers. We still got times and if I had been a competitor my times would have put me in 33rd position for the GS and 31st for the Slalom. The forerunner’s job most importantly is to finish the course so you can give an accurate report on how the whole thing runs so taking chances and skiing on the edge were not really an option, as a result, I felt I skied well but not my fastest so I was satisfied with those results.
The atmosphere at the games was amazing. The crowds were jubilant and very responsive. High 5’s, the singing of national anthems, and fans in crazy garb were everywhere. The crowds’s cheered everyone on but were especially loud for the Canadians. I found the “Olympic experience” was felt upon arrival into the finish corral when you saw the amount of people watching and the spirit of the crowd. At the top of the course it felt the same as any other race. It was the same people I competed against a few weeks ago in Europe, volunteers who have been around the Canadian Ski Racing circuit for years and the same atmosphere as always. It seemed the people who stayed relaxed and didn’t stress about it being “the Olympics” were the ones coming out of top. The ones who were feeling the pressure of the games on their shoulders skied stiff as if they used every muscle in their bodies to will themselves into the top spot. It was a great experience to learn these things before actually competing in my first Olympic games.
I also feel that I really got the feel for the whole “Olympic experience”. I went a few days early before I had to forerun to watch some of the other events with my family. I was incredibly impressed with all the events I saw. Each one was exciting and incredible in its own way. We saw the Men’s Big Hill ski jump qualifications, the Women’s Cross Country 15km combined, the Men’s Two Man Bobsled and the Men’s GS Alpine race. It is incredible to watch these sports live. You can’t help but be captivated by the endurance of the women in x-country, the power and speed built up during the bobsled and the how far the ski jumpers fly. Each is more spectacular live than ever imagined when watching on TV.
Having the Olympics in our own backyard made it more accessible to Canadians and really brought the amazing spirit of the games to Canada. It allowed young athletes the chance to discover what it will be like to compete on that stage and gave young Canadian children new dreams to achieve. These games seemed to be incredibly inclusive. For instance I was a part of a large group of BC athletes that were invited to the Closing Ceremonies. The athletes included past and future Olympians. Being able to watch the closing of the biggest and most successful event in Canada with a group of high performance athletes like myself was incredible.
Hope you are having a great winter and watching the paralympics ! Canadian Josh Dueck came second yesterday in the Slalom! Congratulations!