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Archive for February, 2006

Finito

I am sans accreditation pass, sans italia mobile phone, sans stress, sans work… ahhh… breathing calmly and feeling great. (“calmE”). I am sitting in an artsy, funky cafe bar (Jitters-esque) in the centro of town, shooting my first espresso of the day. It will be tough to ween myself off of this drug.

Going back to Saturday night:
Dad and I sat centre, about 30 rows back from the stage and podium, and watched our St. John’s Curling Club team with pride and joy. This was truly the highlight of these games. I stood up from our seats and raised my Newfoundland bright orange curling sweater – the boys saw it, saw dad and I, pointed and waved from the podium as we proudly cheered for them. It was a wonderful moment and an incredible way to end it all; being there, with dad, watching our flag being raised, listening to our anthem play. I have goose bumps reliving it right now. On the world stage, it was that team and our nation that won a gold medal, and I could not have felt more proud to be Canadian and so inspired for Newfoundland.

Going back to Sunday night, I really should know myself better. On what was to be my last official night of the games, I inteneded to get a “good night sleep” due to the ungodly hour I was to awake to escort folks to Milano. Well, this tale began by complete chance, but I ended up stumbling into the very restaurant where the Swedish hockey team was having a private dinner and celebrating their gold medal victory. As I entered, one very drunk, happy Swede was stumbling up some stairs by himself. It was none other than a Mr. Peter Forsberg. Shane, eat your heart out!! I said to him, “Pedro! Gold Medal! Congratulations – way to go man!!” He gave me a huge hug, all smiles, and said to me in perfect english, “You’re engligh! I am so fucking wasted!”. He’s all class and very sweet, but he’s young, was jubilant and very drunk indeed.
He invited me into the party for a drink – perfect. Ah yes, I will never again get so close to the super star that he has become. I ran out to the car, retrieved my sister, and back into the celebration we jumped. We toasted with red wine, which he poured for us both, and I ended up spending the rest of my evening with his father, his brother, his best friend from childhood and a bunch of the Swedish Hockey Association guys. They were all elated when Christian could pronounce their wee town they are from and Peter made her say it over and over for everyone. They all cracked into some Swedish drinking songs as well, of course. By the time we had arrived at this restaurant that night, most of the players had already left and it was Peter’s entourage remaining. Fine with us! Christian had to drive back up to the mountains that night, so she missed most of the late night pub chats with these guys, which was a shame. Mr. Forsberg, Peter’s dad, is a lovely human being and I am invited to visit them all in Sweden! HA!

So I rolled directly from the bar to the bus to Milano and did not get back to a bed to finally sleep until 5pm last night. I have officially hit the wall. Mum, that ball of wax you sent over for burning at both ends is out. Somebody make it stop. I am ready for home.

The sun has just come out. It is midday. I intend to stroll around town solo for some time, waiting for Christian to organize all of her receipts for CBC and return her car. Then we head up to the mountains for 2 days of sunny snowboarding bliss.
Bring on Beijing. Being a part of the Olympic adventure is an inspiring experience I would love to have again. Can’t wait for 2010.
Ciao from italia

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La fine

End of Day 16… sipping a departure vino, enjoying some delectable formaggio e prosciutto… the gang at the IBC of the CBC are having a few last laughs and relaxing moments before the closing ceremonies┬ácommence and the Games finish…. what a trip. I have to hit the hay fairly early ce soir, as I will be rising at 3am to escort a slew of media to the airport in Milano, then drive a car back to Torino to end my last day as an official employee of the CBC for the XX Torino Winter Olympic Games, 2006…. Then I hit the Alps for some snowboarding!!!! Grazie for reading my blurbs and being a part of my experience. ciao!

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GG in the House

Her Excellency just cruised through the CBC italia, spent some time, took the tour, chatted with some folks. She was just as stunning as ever.
Dad and I will indeed be at the medal ceremony tonight. A hot ticket, however, these are our boys!! How truly fortunate I am. Can’t wait – look for us in the crowds!

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First Gold for Newfoundland

Watched the victory in Ron’s studio with dad – pretty perfect. Well, being at the rink live would have been pretty spectacular as well. The changing of the guard from one ice surface to the next has launched this sport into Olympic splendor and I could not be more ecstatic. It’s about time. Rumour has it there was a loonie in the ice at the rink… You can not believe how this sport of curling has taken off in this country. I’ve done my best to explain the strategies and difficulty in playing to all of our Italian drivers, and they have all slowly but surely come to appreciate the sport. I half expect to see some of them in the next Olympics in Vancouver. Colleen even gave one of them a little lesson!

Posted a few more pics today… hope to get to the medal plaza ce soir to hear our anthem!

ciao

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School Is Out

Not only has the world stopped across the province of Newfoundland each and every time the St. John’s rink has taken to the ice over the past few weeks , and each and every office in the downtown have televisions on bust, but schools across the province are shutting down for those precious 2 hours today. Dedication and Pride.

Here’s a little tid-bit of info that most folks are unaware of and all will find highly amusing: Bob Cole has a game to call at 9pm, Torino time, Russia vs. Finland – good game. Brad’s gold medal game is at 5:30 Torino time, and is an hour drive outside of the city into the mountains. Guess where Big Bob will be at 5:30? …..hope he makes it back for the puck drop! Priorities.

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Few Words Can Describe

I’m not entirely sure if this translated to television, but to me, our Boys had very little passion for the duration of these games. I think that was the difference.

We are assured of the first ever Olympic medal for Newfoundland. The story of these Olympics is that for me. What colour will it be… Time Out: Check this last bit… the crack team of sports investigators of the CBC (aka Hil) have some corrections to make… NF has OF COURSE won some medals in the past – a gold even! – in rowing. Curling, however, is new blood.
Go Brad, Go NF, Go Team Canada – 17:30 Standard Torino Time, Friday, Feb 24th.
Now THESE guys have PASSION…!

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Harry Houdini Pulls It Off

As a Mr. Neale very bitterly and uncharacteristically seriously remarked once off head-set, “Harry Houdini showed up for the second and third and won that one for them”. Our Boys are struggling. They are the sole team who have yet to play anywhere near their potential. Alas, I am not worried and most folks here are nowhere near a state of panic. These guys will now show up. They are an unreal talented professional crew and now that we have entered the “do or die” stage, it’ll be magical. Just you wait. Tonight it all unfolds, 8:30 Torino time. There has been a ban on all of CBC crew to be in the buildings of hockey from here on in unless you are working the venue. This order has come from the IOC top, and was inspired due to the lack of media seats available for the writers and journalists who were actually covering a game. Naturally, all Canadians who are not working at the time of a Canada game have been flocking to the rinks in droves to catch our boys in action. Somebody complained, etc…. no more random Canada jackets allowed in press area. For me? Hey, I bring these hockey crew guys their lunch and dinner every day and ensure they are happy and all of their needs are met… I will be in those buildings for these last few games and there is no way around that! Plus, if push came to shove, and I ain’t about to succumb to pushing or shoving, I do happen to know this one guy who just might let me squeeze in with him for the game, incognito sans Canadiana paraphernalia of course!
The logistical nightmare of getting thousands of folks out of the mountains and out of Torino at the conclusion of the games has begun. I think I have to coordinate a whole slew of people and head to Milano with them to ensure they make their flights and all is well. This will all shake down in the very wee hours of Monday morning, several hours after I am planning to be celebrating a gold medal victory and a closing ceremony soiree – yikes! This could prove to be a bit of a tough go. I feel that it will be nothing too far off the work hard, play hard mantra I seem to have adopted throughout this crazy adventure. I think my body expects it at this point. I think I will make time for an espresso and perhaps a little shopping in an open market in Milano before returning to Torino! It’s astounding to me that this long haul is coming to an end within a matter of days. Although I feel very much at home in my new city of Torino, and I feel as if I have lived here forever, and Vancouver seems like a lifetime ago in some respects, the time here has flown by in a flash and the sadness of departing has begun to set in. All good things must come to an end. I don’t think I really believe that. I prefer “Until we meet again, Torino”…..
(Go Canada Go)
More pics happening…

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The One Thing Not To Do

In this International Olympic mayhem, it seems that the whereabouts of two items are of grave importance. One: accreditation – it is my ticket to life essentially. I did have one brief mishap one night when one of our drivers went home with this item in his car, unbeknownst to me, and to him for that matter. I talked my way into my media village dorm for the night and retrieved the accreditation the following morning. There was a slight panic and I was essentially stranded until I had this item back in my hot little hands again. (My room keys, wallet, Italy cell, computer were also in this car – I got through it and all is well). But without this accreditation, you are nothing, can do nothing, can go nowhere, you have no soul… The other item of somewhat importance is, of course, the passport. Eh-hem. This item, I have just discovered, holds far less significance in these parts in these times, and is not as big of a concern. To rectify the loss, no panic. Ah yes, I have “misplaced” my passport…. no, mum, not out late-night, but running around town, in and out of cars, hotels, venues, it could happen to anyone. I have contacted the Milano Consolati Canadesi, and I will have a new passport in a matter of days. I do, however, have to make my way to the stazione polizia and file a report. Lose the accred: life over. Misplace my actual ticket back to my homeland, facile, or as the Italians say, “no strees”!

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Wayne Time

Cruising through a private area in one of the arenas yesterday and lo and behold, smacked right into none other than Wayner and Kevin Lowe…. our boys had just lost the brutal match against the Swiss, but I had to say a hello anyhow. They were great… despite all that currently surrounds this man and all that he has been through over the past few months with his family, and now this recent kerfuffle, Wayne was still as lovely and charming and politely chatty as always with little ol’ me. I think Canada needed that loss to shock them into moving their feet and stepping things up a few notches, and now, look out baby!!

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Ah, Riiiight…

I had forgotten that I was a morning person and loved to get up with the dawn and ease into the day with a light run. It’s been a week of night-owl activities and I thankfully took the night off last night and was able to feed my morning addiction. The city had a light mist, the sun was rising over the rolling hills surrounding my area of town, la luna was still bright in the sky and the river I ran along, Fiume Po, was like glass. I feel rejuvenated and ready for the next 2 weeks.
Last night I spent some time with dad. It was nice to have more than the 5 or 10 minutes here and there with him, while I dash in and out of the rink he lives in. We had a driver take us out to the curling venue which is about a 40 minute jaunt from Torino into the mountains. My boss, Nicole, joined us as well – a good ol’ salt of the earth Winnipeg gal and die-hard curling fan. It was a perfect night except for the terrible loss our boys from St. John’s suffered. Very un-Brad. However, their record is still alright, so let’s hope the loss does not hurt them down the road. During the break in the game, Dad yelled over to Brad to give him the thumbs up, and I showed the boys the back of my curling sweater – mom’s 1970′s Tournament of Hearts gem that has “Cole”, the NF crest, and a big “Newfoundland” across the back – they loved it. Great moment. I spent a bit of the game directly behind the rink next to Joan, Mike and Don in the booth area, while dad joined the crew on air for the first 5 ends. It was all pretty neat. My first real venue event not working – a welcomed respite.
Christian has officially entered and is working in the mountain towns. Her first day on the job up there she had her car towed. How amusing for those of us who know her well! I think she’s in for quite the adventure.
Check for more pics – there’s a ton I need to post.
Go Canada.

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