Tuesday, March 23, 2010

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Well, I can hardly believe it, but it's over. The Paralympic Closing Ceremony (which was amazing, by the way) has taken place. The StudentsLive experience, awesome as it has been, is also almost over. :( I prefer not to think about it too much, because it is too depressing. Then again, there's always London 2012. A couple of us had the idea to fundraise for money to go to the Summer Olympic Games in London in two years. And I am determined to make it happen!

The fact that ordinary (and somewhat boring at times) life is about to take over is slightly depressing. But, of course, I don't have to wait for another Olympic Games to keep up the blog. After all, exciting things happen every day-you just have to know where to look. So... I AM GOING TO KEEP UP THIS BLOG EVEN AFTER THE GAMES ARE OVER. The challenge is finding the time to write and finding things to write about. But you (the people who read this blog, few as you may be) can encourage me to do so. However, given that I have been writing since I could hold a pen, that shouldn't be a problem. Grosso modo: This doesn't have to end if I don't want it to.

However, I want to summarize these Games. Of course, all the words in the English language wouldn't be enough to properly describe the experience, but I'm going to attempt it by creating a sort of virtual photo album. So, without further ado...

The Students Live Experience:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Some Major Paralympic Headlines

In my signature style, I am going to do a top-five list, highlighting some of the major events of 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. Obviously there are a lot more moments that are worth noticing, but for the moment I decided to write about the five that stood out for me.

5. Japan gets its first gold medal. Cross-country skiier Yoshihiro Nitta finished the race thirty seconds before his Russian competitor. His reaction was very moving: "I have dreamt of this moment for the last year and this season I had imagined this victory every day before going to sleep."

4. Canada beat Norway at the last minute in that one game. It may have taken awhile and been a nerve-wrecking game, but the end was great!

3. The United States of America won gold in sledge hockey! As sad as I am that Canada didn't even make it to the finals, I believe that if anyone deserved to win sledge, it was the Americans. The able-bodied men's hockey team looked so sad when they were receiving their silver medals... :( As you can tell, I am a bit of a bleeding-heart.

2.What he wasn't able to achieve in the Olympic Games, he achieved in the Paralympic . Brian McKeever won his first gold medal in cross-country skiing. Way to go! My only regret is that they haven't let him compete in the Olympic Games.

1. Lauren Woolstencroft, a name not a lot of people knew before now, ended up winning five gold medals and becoming the Canadian with the most ever gold medals at any Paralympic Winter Games in HISTORY. Now that's special.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Biathlon

Yesterday was a very long (but fun!) day. At seven a.m., I was already at the Lonsdle Quay in North Vancouver, waiting to be picked up to go to Whistler. We then made the long trek up to Whistler, to see the Paralympic Biathlon. We were also supposed to watch the awards ceremony, but because of the time it was supposed to start, we weren't able to stay for it. That way, we'd end up getting home at around eleven. Shame.

The Biathlon, Anyone?

-The amount of people that came out to cheer was pretty astonishing. Granted, some of them were from Squamish and some of the other surrounding areas, but a lot of them were from Vancouver, just like us. It's always nice to see so much enthusiasm for such an event.

-Apparently, the biathlon is huge in Germany. Sort of like hockey here. I learned that from some German tourists that we talked to. One of them was the wife of one of the paralympians, Josef Giesen.

-The blind do not compete against the amputees. Embarrassing as it is, I did not know that. But, hey, you learn something new every day.

-There's actual snow in Whistler. Imagine that.

-As we were heading down from the biathlon venue, we got to talk to a native carver, who was carving out a totem pole. He started at the beginning of February, but left everything until the last minute, so now he has to finish a whole totem pole (and paint it too) by Sunday. Good luck!

-Whistler Village has a lot of Paralympic venues. A concert hall, a tent where you can learn about some of the athletes, a Paralympic store... It's awesome.

-Check out the Cow's Ice Cream shop in Whistler. No more need be said.

-Whistler has built a pretty cool accessible playground. What I liked best was that it was made so that disabled kids could play on it, but it is still fun for able-bodied kids. It encourages them to play together!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


It's true that you do not appreciate what you have until you lose it... like your voice. You don't really pay attention to it that much, but once it's gone... oh boy! That's what happened to me. I don't know whether I lost my voice from cheering at the curling game I went to last night or simply because I strained it somewhere else. My guess is that it's a combination of both. But still, to lose your voice at curling? That's unheard of. Then again, it's me. Weird things constantly happen to me.

Anyways, like I said before I went to two wheelchair curling matches in the last twenty four hours-one last night and one this morning. I've never seen any type of curling live before, so it was pretty cool. But, I'll be honest with you, it still isn't the most exciting sport in the world to watch. But I appreciate curling, because at the games they had wheelchairs and curling stones for people to play before the game started. You could see what it's like for the curlers. And it's hard! I either pushed the stones too hard, so that they ended up flying off the course or not hard enough, so that they didn't even reach the circle thing. So, I am amazed at the athletes who are able to do it, especially those who are able to do it from a wheelchair.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Celebrate the Spirit, Celebrate the Spirit, Celebrate the Spirit of the Games

Thanks to Tanya (another StudentsLive blogger), I ended up with a last minute ticket to the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games! And I'm sure glad I did, because they were awesome! Better than the opening of the Olympic Games, even. At first I was convinced that it only seemed that way to me because I actually saw them live, but talking to people that watched them on T.V. confirmed my thought- this ceremony was even better than the Olympic one. So, without further ado...


My getting to BC place in time is a story in and of itself, but unfortunately it is too embarassing to share over the Internet, so we'll just have to skip it and say that in the end, I ended up making there on time. Granted, after some considerable difficulties, but that doesn't really matter in the great scheme of things. Point is-I made it and I wasn't even late.

Everyone had to come an hour early, because they gave you coloured ponchos to wear, white pom-poms to wave around and a bunch of other stuff that let the audience participate in the ceremony as much as possible. As usual, I was the last one to catch on and realize that the reason the audience looked so cool at the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies was because they gave them matching ponchos to wear. I thought it had something to do with the lighting. But hey, at least I know now.

The Opening Ceremony was amazing. There's no other way to put it. It was beautiful and inspiring and awe-striking. I loved so much about it. I loved the fact that because the prices were more affordable, a much wider range of Canadians were able to attend. I loved seeing Terry Fox's parents carry the flame into the stadium. I loved the way the ceremony finished off, with the "Celebrate the Spirit" song. I loved the athlete's parade. I could go on and on about all that I loved about it, but I think that I'll do this in my signature style-write a top ten list. So...

The Top Ten Moments of the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games:

10. Harper and Jean waving their pom-poms in the air like they just don't care.

9. Finding out that the word "Paralympic" doesn't stand for paralyzed or paraplegic, it stands for parallel. As in, in parallel with the Olympic Games. The same, but different.

8. The final song, "Celebrate the Spirit of the Games". It was so upbeat; it conveyed the spirit of the Games well.

7. Seeing the parents of Terry Fox carry the flame into BC place. I can't imagine anyone better suited for the job.

6. The performers carrying the balloons into the stadium. Then, using 21st century technology, having the images shown on those same balloons.

5. "We Rise Again" performed by Nikki Yanofsky and the Vancouver Choir. It sounded beautiful. Like nothing I've ever heard before. And I can't believe that I know some people in that choir-it sounded like it was performed by professional singers.

4. A new generation of greatness: fifteen year-old torchbearer Zach Beaumont lighting the Paralympic Cauldron. In the words of Michaƫlle Jean (at a different event) : "You are the future, of course. But you are also the present."

3. The amount of audience participation in the ceremony. The waving, clapping, cheering, signing and flashing (of the gold cards, I mean, ;)...) was incredible.

2. The flower and butterfly graphics all over the floor. Truly amazing 21st century technology at work again, people.

1. The Athlete's Parade:

So many athletes that rise above their diability and go on to achieve greatness. I admire them even more than the Olympic athletes, because they had to work so much harder to get where they are now. I only wish we all had that much perseverance in us.

And there's more. So much more... Maybe I'll do a part two, but for now these are the ten moments of the Paralympic Opening Ceremony truly worth mentioning.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


So, the Olympic Games are finished and I went back to the "school routine" aka catching up on homework, writing missed tests and so on and so forth. Naturally I neglected my Blog. But now I'm back. I am going to be blogging a whole lot more during the Paralympic Games (I have more tickets!), but for now I am just getting back into the "blogger mood".

Life after the Olympic Games:

In a way, I am almost glad that I have been so overburdened with school lately, because otherwise I would probably just sit around and cry all day. Vancouver without all the crazy crowds is so depressing! :( But the Paralympic Games are coming up and that should be exciting because it's unlike anything I've ever done before. It should be cool.

Anyways, talk to you later!