written by Tammy Findlay, Graphic Design and Advertising for Boundary Bay Brewery:
Thursday night I was elated to see a text from my boss and friend Janet Lightner inviting me to join her on Wednesday for the Women’s two person Bobsledding event. It’s not often your boss asks you to skip work. That’s not something you really ever say no to. Janet had already witnessed several events in Whistler, especially paying close attention to Women’s Cross Country & her friend competing for team Canada, Dasha Gaiazovia. Dasha & Janet met 2 years ago when Dasha graciously agreed to race in the cross country leg for our Boundary Bay Women’s Ski to Sea team. Thanks to Dasha & the other incredible athletes racing for team Boundary Bay we took 1st place. This is Dasha’s first opportunity to race for team Canada in the Olympic games. As I’m writing this Dasha is competing in her last race of these games. She is a dedicated & talented athlete. I’m sure she will do well. I hope we’ll see her for this year’s Ski to Sea! And in Russia four years later!
Our morning began with us stuffing my pack full of growlers and twenty-twos along with multiple layers of clothes. Now that I think on it, you don’t really need both. Cabin Fever & Oatmeal stout will keep you warm. We stopped at a Galileo Coffee where Janet met up with her friend and swapped some Cabin Fever for locally roasted coffee. I think both of them thought they got the better end of the deal. Then we stopped again at Howe Sound Inn, a local brewery in Squamish where Janet’s daughter finally got some good use out of her ID at the tender age of 19. There I saw a server wearing a beaver stocking cap that I will forever need to own. It was just rad! Perhaps I’ll look into developing a prototype for the Brewery.
From Squamish we caught a bus for the rest of the journey to Whistler. I found the mass transit to the games to be pleasant and convenient and the crowds were mild. We took advantage of the down time and decorated Janet’s cheeks with Boundary Bay tattoos. What nation are you from? Beer nation! Once there we cracked into our brew supply. The weather was keeping our beer cold & it was delicious. We stashed the rest in a snow bank for after the event since no liquids are allowed through security. Inside our choices were between Molson & Coors Light. But hey, at least there was some beer.
And then we were there, really there, the final bank of the course painted with VANCOUVER 2010 staring us in the face, better & bigger than any TV screen, cheering with our country men & women, filled with pride and admiration, buzzing together with excitement. I rushed to the track as the first racers were announced. We could feel the sound as they approached. Just as fast as I glimpsed them, they were gone and I was left with a spray of Olympic ice on my face. Fans struggled to capture the moment on camera as the women flashed by. I can hear them now. See that blur there. That was the German sled. Huh, cool.
Twenty-two racers made their first run, determining the order of the final run–slowest to fastest. In the interim of the final runs, Janet’s nephew tried to find a volunteer willing to sell him one of those cool bright blue winter jackets. No one would consider any offer. Janet ran around catching some “USA air” with her patriotic pinwheel. And the rest of us decided that Molson was a little better than Coor’s Light.
It was time for the final runs. Each came down with a time just a fraction better than the last. Some sleds turned over on the difficult course. One of the worst crashes came just after the US team had finished with a 2nd place time. The Germans hopes were crushed as their sled lost control and overturned. We all gasped as the rear teammate came out of the back of the sled & navigated two turns with nothing but her helmet and speed suit. A piece of the sled came ricocheting off and the sled came to a stop as officials rushed to turn it over and free the remaining teammate. Thankfully they were unhurt and able to walk off the course. It really gave me an added appreciation for the difficulty of the sport and the risk and reward involved. This left one team left to race, another Canadian team. I couldn’t help but cheer for them as well. The Canadian team spirit was infectious. As far as I could tell they had a perfect run, finishing just behind the prior Canadian team, giving them a Gold & Silver and USA, the bronze.
USA, HOORAY! So far we have the highest total of medals at 30, eight of them Gold. I feel so fortunate to have experienced a part of the Olympic competition. It was a day I will never forget. Janet’s nephew summed it up perfectly when he said, “There’s no place I’d rather be.” Congrats to all the athletes and a special thanks to the awesome volunteers. USA fans, you rock! And Canadian fans, you also rock. Even that one Canadian fan that violated our personal space and tried to ride me like a pony.