Originally, the Olympics didn’t seem like they would be such a great idea having them here in Vancouver. It seemed it would probably be a hassle: the streets, already being as congested as they were, would only become more so; and don’t even get me started on the quadrupling of foot traffic. But this was just until recently, when I was hit with the realization of how amazing, significant, and historical having the Winter Olympics of 2010 in our city of Vancouver would be.
A typical day in my life would be waking up at 6:30am, getting ready, hopping in my car and driving to my job, getting in a work truck, and heading downtown Vancouver. Okay, you say, so what’s the big deal? Just this: every major route we need to take to get to the high-rise buildings (which are directly DOWNTOWN on the streets we can’t get to) are blocked off, some by the odd group of protesters (which is rare, but it’s nothing a little honking won’t cure), but mostly by the City of Vancouver. Now, I love this fair city, and it is nothing if it isn’t beautiful. But how on earth is a company supposed to make money if the exact streets we have to get onto, like Quebec St., are blocked off to traffic?? Sure there are always ways around it, but don’t you think that every other person in all those cars driving around downtown Vancouver are thinking THE EXACT same thing? Exactly. And to top it off, we’ve got even MORE traffic now that people are piling in from all over the world. Don’t get me wrong the Olympics should be fun, but for a city that’s supposed to be big, it sure does seem small right now!
In contrast, the date of February 1st, 2010 was not at all a typical day by any stretch of the imagination. I happened to be waiting for a sky train downtown right by the Vancouver City Center ticket machines with a friend, minding my own business, when a team of about 7 or 8 Russian athletes walked into the station and hovered around the ticket machines right next to us! Now, being the hockey nut that I am, it would have been one thing if they were Olympic hockey player, which they weren’t, but nonetheless is was surreal in a way to think that hey, these are world class professional athletes, and they are using public transit too! How cool is that? Not wanting to bother them, we didn’t approach them like crazed fans, but we did give them a thumbs up and called “Good luck!” before we hopped onto our train. It was a courteous gesture, even if we didn’t mean it!
Seeing those men and women athletes with the big red jackets that said “RUSSIA” on their backs woke me up in a sense. It really got me excited and motivated for these Winter Olympics in a way I don’t think much else could have, and definitely made it seem much, much more real to me. I think it’s safe to say I’ve been hit with Olympic Fever!