Olympic Memories

Like many of you, I have spent the past few evenings,enjoying the Olympic Winter games in Sochi via television in the comfort of my home.  As a journalist, I covered the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles as part of TIME Magazine’s team.  It was a thrill to report everyday to my assigned events of kayaking, rowing, canoeing and water polo and write about the day’s competition and behind-the-scenes activity of the athletes for the reading public.

It’s not often that the Olympics take place in your backyard so when the Winter Games came to Vancouver, Canada four years ago, I took the opportunity to go.

Going to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver was a big thrill. Guess I can cross that one off my'bucket list.'
Going to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver was a big thrill. Guess I can cross that off  my ‘bucket list.’

Vancouver lies just 45 miles from Bellingham,Wa. where I now live and work. While I was no longer a ” working  journalist” I wrote about my adventures at the games for my friends and followers on my personal Facebook page. (I’m happy to share some those stories with you if you’d like). I encouraged everyone living within two hours of Vancouver to go whether or not they had a ticket to any of the events because there was so much to see and do at the Olympics.

The Olympic spirit is contagious. You can catch it just being around the venues or any of the many special events, concerts and spectators who come to cheer on their athletes. There is plenty to see, experience and photograph. In order to attend the actual competitive events, you must enter your name and choice of events into a lottery for the tickets alloted to your country. I ordered mine a year and  a half before the actual Games. Any leftover tickets are placed for purchase at ticket booths at the Games.

I was fortunate to pick up tickets through the lottery for speed skating and a preliminary game in women’s hockey.

American skater J.R. Celski in fourth place closes in on Canada's skaters Olivier Jean in first in the final laps of the men's speed skating relay race. in the 2010 Vancouver games.
American skater J.R. Celski in fourth place closes in on Canada’s skaters Olivier Jean in first in the final laps of the men’s speed skating relay race. in the 2010 Vancouver games. The men’s team took the bronze in the event.

On the day that I went to pick up my tickets, I was lucky enough to bump into another American who had two extra tickets for the women’s Gold Medal hockey game that he wanted to sell. I didn’t hesitate. What a thrill it was to sit in the arena–the same one where Vancouver’s NHL team, the Canucks, regularly play, and cheer for the American women’s team as they played against the Canadian women. The game was fast-paced and close with the Canadians taking the gold in the end. Even though the Americans had to settle for a silver medal, I couldn’t help but be excited for the Canadians who were jumping and up and down over their victory.

The entire arena erupted along with the skaters on the ice when the Canadian women's hockey team took the Gold Medal against the Americans during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
The entire arena erupted along with the skaters on the ice when the Canadian women’s hockey team took the Gold Medal against the Americans during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

The entire Winter Games in Vancouver was a huge one for Canada as they took more gold medals that year than any other country and in events that they had never won. Canada also broke the record for the most golds won by a NOC at a single Winter Olympics, according to the International Olympic Committee. The previous record was set by the Soviet Union in 1976  with 13 gold medals and then was matched by Norway in 2002.  Overall, the 2010 Olympics created  a huge boost of national pride in Canada. It was a privilege to be there to share in some of it.

Returning from the gold medal women's hockey game, I ran into members of the women's hockey from Finland who had just picked up their bronze medal. They were more than happy to stop for photo and to show off their hard-won prize.
Returning from the gold medal women’s hockey game, I ran into members of the women’s hockey from Finland who had just picked up their bronze medal. They were more than happy to stop for photo and to show off their hard-won prize.

I carried my camera with me wherever I went..There was so much to capture, just as I’m sure as is the case for all those now attending the Winter Games in Sochi. In Vancouver, I was able to take my professional camera with an excellent telephoto zoom lens into the events. Whether or not that’s the case in Sochi, given the elevated security concerns, I don’t know. I recorded some wonderful images of the Vancouver competitions and of the activities surrounding it all. Now, as I watch these Olympic Games I remember all that I did at the games in Vancouver. Those memories along my photos has made viewing the 2014 Games even more personal and compelling.

An enthusiastic group of Russian fans at the 2010 Olympics were ready to host the 2014 Games in Sochi.
An enthusiastic group of Russian fans at the 2010 Olympics were ready to host the 2014 Games in Sochi.

I hope that one day, you’ll experience the Olympics firsthand for yourself. In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy revisiting the Vancouver Olympics through the lens of my camera. You can see more of my images from the Vancouver games on my blog’s Portfolio page: https://cherylcrooksphotography.wordpress.com/portfolio/  Or simply click on the word ‘Portfolio’ at the top this page and you’ll go directly there!

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