February 14, 2010. Victory Ceremony.
I entered BC Place, on the opposite corner from my seat at the Opening Ceremony. Hoping to see the Olympic cauldron burning brightly as a backdrop for the ceremony. Sadly, it turned out that on 1/3 of the stadium was being used for the show (I guess to avoid a logistical nightmare every single day). Again, I had a pretty good seat, although since this was more intimate, I wish I'd been lower, and as close as possible to see the medals being awarded. While waiting for the ceremony to begin, everyone's favourite pre-show host Ben Mulroney came out and announced that Alexandre Bilodeau had just won Canada's first gold medal on home soil. The crowd, again, was nuts. Completely insane. High-fiving and hugging strangers style.
Before the ceremony, the province of BC (a different province each night) put on a show. There was native music and dancing.
There was fiddling.
There was bizarre fashion.
There was even a STOMP-like segment. Apparently BC is eclectic.
Crazy randomness alert! I didn't know until I came home and posted my pictures on Facebook, but the girl on the left in this picture, holding the gold medal, is a girl named Katelyn who I knew as a child. She grew up just a few blocks away from me! What a small world! She even used one of my pictures of her in the local newspaper, which Rebecca is going to be sending. Yay!
Jennifer Heil was awarded her silver medal from the previous day, and it was fantastic!
Look at all those flags!
Seung-Hoon Lee of Korea won silver, Sven Kramer of Netherlands won gold, and Ivan Skobrev of Russia won bronze in the Men's 5000m Speed Skating.
Finally, Kristina Groves got the bronze medal I watched her win. It was a very happy day!
The ladies had a blast up there!
After the medals, Nelly Furtado took the stage. It wasn't the most riveting concert ever, since people were there more for the medals and less for the concert (normally people go to a concert because they're a fan). But it was nice, and it was done by 9pm, so I stayed for the whole thing before venturing back into the city for one last night.
I strolled by Alberta House, which was finally in full swing. Live music, food and drinks... nothing cool to see. I just stuck to the streets... that's where all the best fun was!
I did get lured in by the Four Host Nations pavilion though, now they they were officially open. I went inside and they had a TV screen airing the repeat of Alexandre Bilodeau winning gold. There was quite a crowd watching. An interview with him and his family followed, and it brought a lot of people to tears. What an amazing guy... absolutely deserving of the honour!
Sadly, I couldn't stay downtown forever, so I grabbed one last look at the massive flag, and I headed to the hostel.