Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Olympic Flame

Today was one I'd been waiting a LONG time for. The Olympic Torch Relay finally made its way to Ottawa! After a pointless 3 hour shift at work, Darryl and I headed to City Hall. We got THREE flags each, and a special metal bottle of Coke. Very Olympicy Coke.

After making our way to the stage area, we ran into Catherine and Dave. Woo! Seeing people I know is always nice! And of course, the torch relay is supposed to bring people together, right?

After some poor attempts at jostling for better position in the crowd, uOttawa student Melissa Brunet entered Marion Dewar Plaza with the torch. YAY! This picture sucks, but I like the little detail of the cut out maple leaf in the back of the torch.

She held it up for a photo op.

And she lit the cauldron so quickly that my slow camera just couldn't keep up, especially in the cold.

Mayor Lex Luthor gave a surely impassioned speech.

Dave, Darryl and I love Lex Luthor.

As a former Ottawa resident and Olympic Gold medallist in figure skating at the 1948 Olympics in St. Moritz, Barbara Ann Scott was trotted out on stage, decked out in red. Considering she is/was Canada's Sweetheart, you'd think she could have gotten to speak for a minute or two. Just sayin'.

Next, VANOC CEO John Furlong spoke. So did about 9 other people, including John Baird, who looks angry even when celebrating the Olympic flame, and Max Keeping, Ottawa's lovable old news scamp who thinks he's allowed to retire after 37 years on CJOH. Come on! [For the record, his chanting of "Go Canada Go" was the most annoying thing I've heard on repeat in quite some time].

After a little break, it was time to say goodbye, as Torchbearer 096 took the flame back down the red carpet.

I really like this picture! They were tough to take, with police swarming the guy. I must say, between the police and the media in the way, it wasn't the most spectator-friendly event. But it was great.

The four of us decided to warm ourselves at Second Cup with some delicious warm beverages, where we saw the actual relay run by on Elgin St. [along with the ridiculously large convoy accompanying the flame]. Then, Darryl and I headed home for about half an hour which was just enough time to put on some long johns for the night session.

We arrived at Parliament Hill just 62 days before the Opening Ceremony. There were videos, singers, dancers, speakers, a painter, fireworks, and fellow crowd members who were either awesome or ultra annoying.

Finally, JoƩ Juneau, silver medallist in men's hockey at the 1992 Albertville Olympics, arrived on Parliament Hill to end the relay for the day. Even harder than taking pictures in a crowd during the day, is taking pictures from more of a distance in a crowd at night.

After the lighting of the capital's Christmas lights, and a performance by Tom Cochrane, they put the flame back in the miner's lantern, where it will illuminate a hotel bathroom overnight, ready to start again tomorrow [it will run through Renfrew!]

We went around the stage to see the Christmas lights, and then it was time to head home. I saw so many red Olympic mittens today. Apparently they have been so popular that they expect to sell 2 million pairs by the end of the games; double the original estimate. I also learned that giving everyone multiple flags to wave in the air makes crowd experiences less enjoyable.

But it was a wonderful day :D


JennyMac said...

What an awesome event. I remember when it came through our city and I was right there on the sidewalk watching it go by.

And love that precious Barbara Ann.
And the pipers of course.

i am playing outside said...

JennyMac, it was all kinds of fun! I can't wait to see it again when I'm in Vancouver. Today I also watched it live online as it went through my hometown. Too bad I wasn't there to see it!