On July 2, 2003 the International Olympic Committee announced that Vancouver, British Columbia would be hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics.  It was down to PyeongChang, South Korea and Vancouver; Salzburg Austria knocked out in the first round.  I was working at an internet cafe at the time, and had the TV tuned into a local channel filming inside GM Place (now Rogers Arena) waiting for the winning city to be named.  When the IOC pronounced Vancouver as the winner everyone in GM Place burst into cheers.  As did I, jumping up and down, fist pumping away much to the amusement of customers watching as well.  I had always liked watching the Olympics, admittedly the winter games more than the summer – probably the Canadian thing.

February 12th, 2011 marked the one-year anniversary (celebration) of the games and almost a year since my last day at work with the Olympic Broadcasting Services Vancouver (OBSV).  A job that became 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, but an experience I wouldn’t change for anything.  Well… maybe a trip in the T.A.R.D.I.S., but even that would be a tough decision.

That picture above sums up my job, Accreditation and Uniform coordinator.  Basically – made sure the 2500+ staff working for OBSV had the correct information to pass a security check, and the proper clearance for venues.  There were a lot of bad photos that wouldn’t pass strict Canadian security laws, and poorly filled out personal information sheets.  OH!  And the database wasn’t working properly so all the letters containing each individuals work period, hotel contacts, etc had to be done offline.

Still wouldn’t change a thing.

Luckily the hard work brought some pretty awesome perks.  The picture above was taken before they put a second fence around the cauldron to keep everyone away.  I guess folks were jealous that we (broadcast media working from the Vancouver Convention Centre VCC) got to get all cozy with it and they were stuck behind a huge throng of people.  See below…

Most of the OBSV staff were able to go to at least one of the opening ceremonies dress rehearsal, and offered a ticket for the actual ceremony.  But being the good sister that I am stuck to my promise to watch it with her on her BF’s big screen TV.  It was fun adding a colourful commentary, at least for me it was.  Sorry no pictures, we weren’t allowed to take any so if I posted some…

Walking up the steps to the ballroom of the convention centre every morning we were met with six screens each broadcasting a different feed.

There was always a “Beauty Cam” of Whistler, the IBC (International Broadcast Center at VCC) and the cauldron.  You know when the broadcasts cut to a quick shot in between breaks?  That’s what they are called, Beauty Cam.  We once had coworkers who were in Whistler Village find the camera and wave.  It may have made it on TV, you never know!

The live feeds were fun.  TV’s spread out all across the offices, conference rooms, and ballrooms.  A listing of what was scheduled on each channel was emailed out every morning, and since a TV was right by my desk at the end of a long row, I got to watch what I wanted.  Most of the time, and I still had to work of course.  Starting a 7am shift was definitely made easier with a morning show airing beside me.

Of course no broadcasting centre would be complete without something to broadcast.  CTV, NBC, European stations and others were set-up in the VCC, filming their interviews, coverage and what I believe is called lead-ins.  That I’ll explain soon.  I myself didn’t see too many athletes, of course being just a tad biased I would be looking  out for the Canadian ones.  Especially the Canadian men’s Curling team, I developed a major crush on one of them.  Apparently missed them by about 20 minutes… after already waiting an hour after my 12 hour shift before giving up and going home.

There was days off and fun times after work as well.  Using our accreditation (security passes) to get past the line-up into a LiveCity show, one in pouring rain and the other abruptly stopped four seconds into Alexisonfire when the stage was rushed.  Still… NO LINES.  The streets were filled with people singing, laughing, displaying flags and colours.  The impromptu renditions of “Oh Canada” were always a blast.  Going to curling, figure skating, women’s hockey and a medal ceremony with my mom and sister.

I could keep going with pictures and everything that happened, that would be an incredibly long post, so I shall leave you with some Best-Of moments and a Flickr page of pictures.

Some Best of Moments

Introducing a star struck fan to the Skeleton gold medal winner, John Montgomery.  I was walking out of our daily meeting and this kid was visibly shaking from excitement and nervousness at the sight of him.  I nonchalantly told him to wait and I would get him a picture.  Waiting until Mr. Montgomery was finished with his conversation and asked if he minded taking a picture with the fan.  He obliged, of course.  it was really cute.

Going to Curling, my sister seeing for the first time ever.  The fans were so loud and we got to see the Norwegian’s awesome pants.  And yep Canada “swept” it.

Getting a call at 5pm with the offer of four free tickets to the Russia vs Slovakia women’s hockey game at 7pm.  Fifth row behind the bench.  Thanks Boss man!

Watching Billy Bush from “Access Hollywood” trying to film his intros and the floatplanes kept taking off in the background, over and over and over again.  On more than once occasion, never ceased to crack me up.

Noticing that ‘tobaganning’ was displayed on screen and letting the guy in charge of the captions know – they’re room was right behind my desk.  “Tobogganing” wasn’t displayed again but they still needed the correction – and I caught it!

The wrap party after the men’s Gold Medal hockey game filled with food, booze and dancing after an intense two weeks… for a couple thousand people.  There were folks crashed out on the VCC’s furniture and having to work in a few hours, talking to members of the Russian media about their upcoming turn at things and dancing.  Did I mention that already?  Everyone was feeling a little rough the next day, and most came in closer to noon…

Knowing how badly my mom wanted to see a Canadian flag at the gold medal during the Victory Ceremony we went to, and not telling her when I figured out we would be seeing it.  I initially said they would award the medal in Whistler and we could see the live feed, but I was mistaken – and decided to let her believe it for the surprise.  It totally worked, she was so happy.

So there’s a bit about my life during the games.  As I said before, an amazing experience.  Please check out my Flickr page if you want to see more of what those crazy few weeks were like. *forgive the camera quality, just a little point and shoot*

flickr.com/photos/lizthecanadian