It’s a Wrap

March 26, 2010

It’s nearly a month after the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and I’m finally done with this blog!  This was my first Winter Olympics (third overall) and there were a lot of positive points.  It was a lot more work than I thought it was going to be.  Everyone I talked with beforehand was saying it was going to be easier, if I had just stayed in Vancouver or just stayed in Whistler I would have agreed.  But I had six trips up there and seven 20 hour days.  It felt like I spent the same amount of time out and about as I did during the summer Olympics but I shot a lot less.  I’ve been sick for the last month, luckily it didn’t manifest itself until after I got back because there’s no way I could have done that grueling schedule while being sick.

One of the best parts about this Olympics was being able to hangout with friends and make new ones.  In the past being cloistered away in the media housing with little food and drinks nearby meant typically going back to the room at the end of the day.  I was able to go out with friends for dinner most every night – usually with John Leyba, Kevin Sullivan, Robert Gauthier, Don Feria, Paul Kitagaki, Paul Chinn, et al.  I was also able to have visitors, my cousin Angie and her friend, Don crashed at the hotel and my coworker and bf Josie Lepe spent time in Vancouver.  However my blog suffered because instead of heading back and working on it I’d go out for dinner and/or drinks.

From left to right, John Leyba (Denver Post), Wally Skalij (LA Times), Paul Kitagaki (Zuma Press) and me at the finish line at Whistler Creekside (John is holding Paul’s camera on a monopod for this group portrait).

Canada is great, it doesn’t feel like a foreign country.  Hopefully this isn’t offensive to Canadians, but it feels just like the States – heck they have the same stores, Sears, Costco, etc.  Being in the same time zone was awesome – I didn’t have to figure out what time it was back in the office – there was no jet lag.  Everyone spoke English so there was no language barrier.  The US dollar was pretty much exactly the same as the – yes this is bad – but it was good because I didn’t have to figure out how much I was spending.

Don on a shuttle.

Canadians were all super nice – even the police officers were super nice.  One time when Kevin and I were heading to get a cab from Canada Hockey place we were trying to cross the street and we didn’t make it, a police officer manning the street started joking with us that we shouldn’t have hesitated and we should have just gone then he put on a fake mustache and started talking in an accent.  It was totally surreal – I’m used to, not mean, but definitely not personable police officers.  The volunteers – aka Smurfs because of their blue outfits – were all very nice and helpful.

Overall food was great… since we didn’t have to rely on food from the IOC.  But even the food in the arenas was 10x better than it was in Beijing or Greece.  But having options was huge.  Having the option of room service was also huge – I had that several times.  It was good that Josie came up because right after I got to Vancouver my computer started acting weird (see pic below) – at first it would only last a few seconds, but as time went along it would take a couple of minutes to clear up – towards the end when she showed up it would take 5-10 minutes for the screen to work properly – that was getting stressful!

The hotel room was awesome – see first blog post, so much nicer than Greece where the room was teeny-tiny and I had to share a bathroom.

Other nice memories:  Kevin’s pizza injury, I’m glad I never had to shoot curling.  Saw some friends from years ago, Gerry Broome – he works for AP now he was at the third paper I interned at, Jim Collins he also works for AP now he worked as a picture editor at the Virginian-Pilot when I was there.  I ran into Caroline Couig a former picture editor at the Merc.  And many others I’m sure I’m forgetting about now.

Big thank you’s to John Mabanglo, Gary Reyes, Jed Jacobsohn, and Eric Fowles for helping me with what I needed to bring and buy as far as winter gear.  I saw Jed a week before I left and he told me to bring the 500 f4 – a lens I hadn’t even thought about – I used that lens just about every day!  Thanks Jed!

My locker 680.

Big thank you’s to ThinkTankPhoto for helping me with a backpack, the Loki jacket I got was awesome, Swany gloves worked great.

Big thank you’s to Linda the master telecommer at the paper for setting up my iPhone for data use there – I used that thing everyday, there was an Olympics app which had the schedule on it that was indispensable, I used it every day a gillion times a day!  It not only had the schedule but it also had rosters, results, profiles, etc.

Big thank you to Josie for getting me what I needed.  Big thank you to Keeble and Shuchat for renting me a Mark IV (since we can’t buy one).  Big thank you to my former boss Geri Migielicz for asking me if I wanted to go to Vancouver and my current my boss Michael Malone for his support.

A big thank you to picture editor Jami – and all of those faceless designers back at the paper – like Ryan Lambert and Mike Mayer – here is a small sampling of the many pages which included my images:

Big thank you to Elliott Almond and Mark Purdy for their and guidance and Mark Conley for being the editor in San Jose.

Big thank you to my kitty sitters – Josie, Nol, Huyen and Linda for keeping little Whitie company.

And finally a big thank you to my Mom and stepdad for their constant support.

The last day I was there , March 1st, was my 10 year anniversary at the Merc; Josie, Kevin and I hung out, went shopping throughout town, including Granville Island.  Had a Japadog – that was good – Japanese style hotdog from a street vender that is super popular.  We met Don, Robert, Scott, Jed and a smurf for dinner at a Japanese restaurant called Guu – it was good – Josie, Don, Robert and I grabbed dessert at Denny’s after dinner, I had a rootbeer float.  It was a great finish to our trip and a great way to spend my ten year anniversary.

PS on the flight out USA hockey silver medalist Kerry Weiland was on our flight!  That medal was heavy and I was scared – I didn’t want to drop it!  She was super nice and let everyone take their picture with her.  Photo by Josie at SeaTac.

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