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En route to the Opening Ceremonies

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Posted: Friday, February 12, 2010 3:40 pm

One call was all it took — and I got a ticket to tonight’s Opening Ceremonies.

As a credentialed member of the media, I am able to attend just about any competition for free, with the exception of high-demand events like the opening and closing ceremonies and men’s hockey gold medal game.

For those, one must make a special request, which I did. And because organizers try to distribute at least one ticket per media outlet — and in this case I’m the only person from the News-Miner — I got in.

I’m on the bus now heading back to Vancouver from Whistler, the mountain town where I am staying at a rented house that is a quick bus ride from the village. It’s been overcast and rainy since I arrived Wednesday, but the sun made its first appearance this morning in Whistler. That will make the drive scenic but won’t matter much for the Opening Ceremonies, which for the first time are indoors (the sun vanished well before Vancouver came into view, anyway). Needless to say, I’ve left my mukluks back in Whistler. I must be the only person with mukluks in Whistler — not the ideal footwear for wet conditions! I’ll probably be using my ski boots instead.

While much has been made of the dearth of snow for these Olympics, that’s not entirely the case, and it’s having little impact on the games regardless. In the Vancouver area, there is indeed no snow, but the events there — like hockey, speedskating and curling — are indoors, so it's not a problem. In Whistler, there is little snow in the village, where typically it’s a winter wonderland. But there is plenty at higher elevation for skiing, and sports like luge and bobsled have a refrigerated track. The only place where the minimal snow is a concern is at Cypress Mountain 20 miles north of Vancouver, site of freestyle skiing and snowboarding. They’re making do by bringing in snow via trucks and helicopters and using a variety of measures to keep it all from melting.

Tonight the first mystery of who will light the Olympic cauldron will be answered. Many Canadians are hoping it will be hockey legend Wayne Gretzky.



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