This morning I attended the 2010 Olympics Women’s curling at the Vancouver Olympic Centre and Vancouver Paralympic Centre. For locals this is near Queen Elizabeth Park and the Riley Park neighborhood (Ontario and 30th).
Even though I was a newbie to the sport of curling, I could quickly see how much skill is required in this sport. When you see the sheet in person (the area that the curlers must slide the rock (large stone like object), you quickly appreciate the precision needed to slide an object some 45 to 46 m away (146 to 150 feet) and place it exactly where you want it.
Not only skill but there is a lot of strategy as curlers not only try to slide the rock (curling stone) closest to the bulls eye but can also place rocks to block the opponent.
There were 4 games going on a round robin fashion. As a proud Canuck, my attention was focused on the Canada vs Japan game. It was a close contest with Japan in front of Canada coming into the last end down one point 5 to 6. The nail biting match came down the last hot where Canada’s Cheryl Bernard (the skip) slide a perfect shot to knock the Japanese stone out scoring two points for Canada and securing the win. The Canadian crowd erupted into a roar of excitement. Yeah Canada!
This was my first Olympic sporting event so far and it was sure great to see Canada do so well. Before going I was curious to see what security, transportation, and line ups would be like for Olympic attendees. Below is what you need to know before attending an Olympic event, based on my experience today.
Get There Early – I went 1.5 hours before the event to make sure I got in. This gave me time to find the line ups, park my bike, etc. The women’s curling started at 9 am, as such I was there by 730 am. When I arrived, there were a lot of people already in the line up. I did not wait too long, I estimate around 35 mins from once I lined up to finding my seat.
Travel Light – I travel light to and avoided bringing big bags and nap sacks so I can get through security as quickly as possible.
Security – Just like airport security you are prohibited from bringing food or drink into the event. You must dump all metal objects into the grey bucket before walking through the metal detector. I did observe that they did not ask anyone to take their shoes and belt off which was nice. So basically exactly like airport security except that the security people were very very polite and friendly, wishing each person a good day and to enjoy the event – yeah polite Canadians!
Washrooms – there were many portable washrooms set up in the facility. For women, it would be wise to use the washroom before the event. There was quite a massive line up during the 5 or 10 minute intermission. Of course for men, the line up was not an issue (just one of many the perks).
Concession Stands – Funny enough all of the stands sold cold drinks but only some of the stands sold hot drinks. In a cold event like curling, I would think hot drinks would be what you would want to prepare for. I know everyone in my row went hunting for coffee or hot chocolate. Anyway, these were sold up front near the entrance for $3. While this might be a bit on the Olympic size for pricing, I must say the coffee was very good. But then again, any coffee would be good at 730 am 🙂 Along with my slice of banana bread at $4, my bill came to $7 – so not exactly cheap but it’s the Olympics. Bottled drinks like water, pop and juice all average between 3 to 4 dollars.
As for food, they sold pizza, hot dogs and so forth. It was around $5, but I didn’t even bother looking at those since there are plenty of good restaurants on Main street or at Cambie Village nearby. And with a 2 hour event, I knew I could save my appetite for some good eats later.
Transportation – parking is prohibited in the surrounding residential areas from at least 16th avenue on. So if you drove, you would have to walk around 15 blocks. I would definitely recommend taking public transit. Buses run along Main and Cambie, so you can hop off near 3oth and walk a few blocks in.
There is a shuttle bus available connecting King Edward and the Vancouver Olympic Centre. But there was quite a line up for it when I was exiting the arena.
Lastly for those bikers, there is a free bike park available complete with attendant who gives you a number for you to pick up after the event. The attendant watches your bike in a secure area and you simply pick up your bike after the event. A good tip for you is to make sure you write your cell number and name on the back of the stub that the attendant gets. This way if you lost your bike ticket you can just identify yourself with your name and cell phone. And if there is a question, they can just call your cell phone to verify your identity.
There you have it, my 2010 Olympic experience. Canada Women’s curling team, defeated Japan, leaving me very proud to be Canadian and wondering how clean a curler’s hardwood floors must be. Until next post, good luck and much success in your careers.