Archive | Vancouver 2010

Nardwuar and the Olympics

The BC Media Centre hosts a lot of press conferences. One highlight of many of them is long time Vancouver favorite, Nardwuar the Human Serviette asking questions of various people on stage.

First he asked Governor Arnold Swartzenegger about his previous vinyl efforts:

Pacific Coast Collaborative Press Conference

then today, he asked Canadian Ice Dance Gold Medalists Scott Moir & Tessa Virture about Scott’s previous aspirations of becoming a SWAT team leader:


(make sure you watch til the end to hear Tessa finish Nardwuar’s famous jingle)

He even stopped in when the Stanley Cup was here to find his great uncle’s name who won the cup with Chicago in 1961:

Hey it's @Nardwuar with Phil & the Stanley Cup

Thanks for being awesome, Nardwuar!

(this post originally appeared on 2010.johnbiehler.com)

Posted in Culture, Fans, Vancouver 2010, photos0 Comments

Reflection on my first Week at the 2010 Winter Games

Reflection on my first Week at the 2010 Winter Games

Amazing first week at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games. Here’s some of the Highlights of my first week at 2010 Olympics…

Watching the Olympic flame Downtown… Hours before the Opening Ceremony. It was amazing to see the flame change hands as it was zig zagging through the streets of our host city on its last day (Day 106 of a 40,000 Kms).

A few hours later Wayne Gretzky will be the last torch barer, completing the journey riding in the back of a pickup, in the rain, to light the Cauldron…

Visiting the various hospitality houses:

  • Holland Heineken House – The Holland is located at the Richmond OZone – (Minoru Park) and is within walking distance of the Richmon Oval, the long track speed skating venue. I had the opportunity to go there a few nights this week; I saw and met Sven when we celebrate him breaking the OR and winning a Gold Medal – Speed Skating, Men 5000m.  The music and Dj are great entertainment, the beer flow freely @ $4.50 for a 8 once glass, it falls in line with other Olympic prices. Overall I would say, a great venue to enjoy an evening. Note that the House is Close to “NON Dutch Passport Holder” on days when Holland wins a Gold Medal. Expect Long line up…
  • Irish House - I was at their opening night, and as much as the space is fun, I didn’t find my space here. It feels like an extension of the Doolin’s Irish Pub, a large tent venue with comfortable seating, decent sounds and average cover bands. The beer is on the expensive side <$8, the entrance fee uncalled for! Seriously… The Irish House has received many noise complaints since it is open late. Expect long line up.
  • German House. Great food, tasty beers, friendly Germans and a good spot to watch a game or just hang with friends. You can buy tasty sausages and other German grilled food. Expect Long line up…
  • Sochi World – If you like the Olympics and are a fan, I would strongly recommend doing the trip to the Rusky World. Science World has been converted into a demo centre for the next Winter Games in Russia. The Second floor feature the sponsors, a great place to watch hockey, and an Info Centre for the Upcoming Olympic University. Expect very long line up. A must see IMO.
  • Atlantic House - Possibly  one of the best place to spend an afternoon while learning about eastern Canada and enjoying tasty food, great beers,Screech (NF Rum). I hung out with friends and found the venue (Backstage Lounge on Granville Island) to be a great reflection of Atlantic Canada. Line up was not that bad on the day we visited the house.
  • Switzerland House – I had the pleasure to go to their opening night and for the Canada vs Switzerland Man Hockey game. The food is tasty as you would expect; you can choose between Fondue, Sausage, cold cut plate and various other dishes. The bar is a good venue to enjoy a game. Expect a line up.
  • La Maison Du Quebec - I went to La Maison Du Quebec on Quebec day and enjoyed a tall beer, some great music in a large open venue. I would say that overall this is a great location to enjoy a band, taste great bieres Quebecoise and spend a great evening. Line up varies, but they tend to move fast.
  • HBC – Pin Trading Center – No Olympics would be complete without trading a few pins. Coca Cola and HBC have partnered up and there is a Pin trading centre at the downtown HBC olympic store. They have daily events, and you can find pro and amateur pin traders networking there throughout the day. A must see spot for anyone interested in Pin Trading or anyone who would like to know more about this unofficial Olympic sport.
  • Molson Canadian Hockey House - Molson have been extremely generous to us and granted us access to the venue before the public opening and for a few games. Overall this is by far the best place to watch a hockey game. The fan zone passes are not cheap but if you factor in that this is a all day pass, which include food and “in and out” privilege and the bar serves more than just Molson Canadian. Although why would you want to drink anything else? No Lineup, lots of space, the entertainment is not conducted by your traditional PG 13 host ;) Overall a must do experience for any Hockey Fan
  • Club Bud – Burton Event – One of the most exclusive party of the 2010 games, the Club Bud party series will feature 5 different night co-sponsored with another outfit. This week Club Bud (Ustream channel for the red carpet) was hosting the Burton and NHL parties. I attended the Burton party. We got to share space with Karl Lewis, the USA Snowboarding team, talented snowboard artists and various Celebrities.. By Invitation only

Exploring the CODE

love them ring colors

  • CODE 1 – We attended the Opening Night and enjoyed the various instalations. See our posts on CODE 1 for more information.
  • CODE 2 – Located at Emily Carr University on Vancouver Island, code two has a few instalation worth seeing. I would recommend taking the time to listen or watch all the media loops..Worth the time, no line up, and a fun thing to do while on Granville Island.
  • Code 3 – Located on the lower level of the Downtown Vancouver Public Library – CODE 3 has a fun interactive air canon that shoot up airplane message with beacon light. A fun thing to do with the kids. Expect a line up but fun and creative.

John’s CODE Pictures &   KK’s CODE Pictures

Attending Sporting events
USA vs Norway

  • Speed Skating – Attending an event where you get to witness an Olympic Record is something memorable. I really enjoyed the Richmond Oval. A bit out of the way, but a great legacy venue for after the Olympics.
  • Hockey Game – USA vs NOR – The US team won in this amazing game. We scored great seats in the first round of tickets allocation and this was a great game to check out.

Nightly Victory Ceremonies and Themed Days

  • Quebec Day – Alex’s Golden Moment - Music and Quebec Talent followed by the Victory Celebration for Canada’s 1st Gold on Canadian soil in 3 Olympics.. Overall I would say that at >$30 the nightly Victory Ceremonies are a good value for the family. Sadly the scalpers are selling tickets at criminal rates..
  • PEI Day – Sean White get’s the Gold – Unfortunately we arrived late for the first part entertainment. But we witness Shaun White receiving his Gold Medal. Hedley was the headliner that night.

TNMH and other Events

  • Hanging at the BCMC – The Robson Square Media Centre has become a central basecamp for us over the past week; it is a great venue to meet other media outlets, reporters and celebrities. This week we got to meet Canada’s Golden Boy; Alex Bilodeau, Ex-Terminator now Governor Arnold Swartzenergger, taste wine from various regions. Hug the Stanley Cup and get great support to create content for this blog… ;)

  • TNMH – Alternative Media Group founded to serve a missing need. Photowalk to the Olympic Cauldron – We held a #TNMH photowalk from the German House to Robson Square via the Olympic Cauldron;  we had a bit more than a dozen photographer come to the ad-hoc event and we where lucky to have a great sunny day for us to explore the Streets of Vancouver.
  • Zip Line over Robson Square – By far the most fun I had in my first week, riding Zip Trek’s Zip Line over Robson Square was the highlight free activity of the 2010 Winter Game.


Zip Trek over Robert Square with @mariskar

Final notes; Despite the terrible rain on the opening ceremony night, we had amazing weather this week. I have never seen so many happy people people in vancouver> the streets a.re filled with helping volunteers and fans from over 90 nations.

No fun city? Not anymore, the police and security force has done a great job with crowd control in face of the massive all night street parties.

Overall it was an amazing first week at the 2010 Winter Games.

Bonus: Check out the great 3D view of the venues..

Posted in Culture, Fans, Featured, Vancouver 2010, Venues0 Comments

A Tourist’s Perspective on the Vancouver Games

A Tourist’s Perspective on the Vancouver Games

Yesterday was my first day at the Olympics and it was amazing!  Vancouver is a beautiful host city and the BC Tourism Board http://www.hellobc.com has done an excellent job promoting the city and its gorgeous scenery.

The day started out with a photo walk around downtown taking pictures of the Olympic flame, then down to Robson Square to see the Chinese gold and silver medal pairs figure skating champions do brief performances.  Then we went to the British Columbia Media Center! And watched some snowboard half pipe and hockey on TV.

Late afternoon I headed to the Pacific Coliseum as I was fortunate enough to wrangle a ticket to the Short Track Speed Skating.  At Wednesday’s Short Track was Women’s 500M quarterfinal, semifinal, and final—yes, we did get to see the final, including flower ceremony.  In the end China won gold, and the home team, Canada won silver!  It was also Men’s 1000M and Men’s 5000M semifinal relay.  In the relay 4 teams compete at once, each with 4 guys on the ice so you can imagine it was quite crowded.  But due to a disqualification, the final will be even more crowded: 5 teams, 4 guys each!  That would be very exciting to see.

It was a fantastic day to be there as new Olympic Records were constantly being set and broken.  What you learn when watching Short Track, is its not over till its over!  You may think you’re out of the qualifying and then 2 skaters knock each other out and suddenly you’re in second place!  Even though these are fairly short distances and people are going at super high speeds, the leader of the pack can change in a heartbeat.  Fight till the end, the race doesn’t end til you cross the finish line!

If you have the opportunity, I recommend short track for the excitement and the crowd’s enthusiasm.  And if you’re Canadian, don’t forget a cowbell to cheer on the home team!

Going to this event by myself, I found the other fans to be extremely friendly and helpful. During the event, I sat near some very friendly Canadians and had a great time exploring the public transportation system with some guys from Toronto. Vancouver was clearly planning ahead for this event: although the line for the 10 Bus to go downtown was a 1/4 mile long, the city had buses coming right after each other to pick us up so I don’t think I waited more than 20minutes before I got on the bus.  Very well done, Vancouver!

Inspiring event! Great day! Awesome Olympics! Wonderful host city!
Guest Post Written by: Toffler Niemuth
Twitter: @tofflerann

Posted in Culture, Fans, Vancouver 2010, Venues3 Comments

Intrepid Olympic Documentation w/ John Biehler – Olympic Outsider #15

Intrepid Olympic Documentation – Olympic Outsider #15

More John Biehler:

Flickr
Twitter
Web

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Exploring Latvian Poets, Flags and Presidents in Vancouver

Austria vs LatviaOver the past 8 years since attending 2002 Olympic Winter Games in SLC, I’ve spoke to groups at colleges, bars and conferences about the difference between seeing the Olympics on TV and “on the ground.” My examples most always include the first-ever Nepali Winter Olympian (a x-country skiier) and the passion of the Latvian hockey fans as sources of inspiration for my documentation.

Despite the small population and history of totalitarian Soviet control, Latvians ice a team good enough to play in the A Pool but not necessarily good enough to win the big prize. However, you can’t tell them that as any Latvian truly believes their team is as mighty as the rest.

Austria vs LatviaThis belief comes from a long history of performing with heart and vigor although often in the Soviet system and/or on Dynamo Riga club team which is filled with Latvians.

The proudest moment for the Latvian Men’s Hockey Team was when they defeated the Russians in 2000 – in St. Petersburg, Russia – at the World Championships led by (former Vancouver Canucks) goaltender Arturs Irbe.

arturs irbe playing for dynamo riga

While speaking at Capilano University about the Olympics, I met a Lativan student named Reinis Spaile who posted my enthusiasm on a Latvian social networking website which produced a throng of Latvian fans following along with my Olympic punditry including my “People’s History” manifesto.

My pal Chris Breikss is of Latvian heritage and we’ve spoke of the unique nature of these fans from the Baltic country. He’s rallied the enthusiasm from the Latvian community into a Latvian Fan Unite Facebook group and began rallying meetups and events to both welcome visitors and explore his own Latvian ancestry (personally i am happy to provide a wee bit of inspiration as i think this internationalizing is the best part of the Olympics).

As it turns out, Chris’ Latvian story is stunning – a real life Dr. Zhivago story of sorts including poets, gulags and love.

As explained in Vancouver Sun article by Gerry Bellett: “Tragic tale prompts Canadian to fly Latvian flag – Chris Breikss’s grandfather was a famous Latvian poet and patriot who starved to death in a Siberian gulag after being arrested in 1941″

The tale involves his grandfather, Leonids Breikss, a famous Latvian poet and patriot who was arrested in 1941 when the Soviet army invaded Latvia.

He was sent to a Siberian gulag, never to be seen again by his family, and died within a year of starvation.

“He was taken because he spoke against the occupation and talked of peace and love for his fatherland,” Breikss said.

Leonids’ wife, who is still alive and lives in Toronto, was pregnant at the time with a son — Chris’s dad, Peter, who would never see his father — and the pair eventually made their way to Canada at the end of the Second World War.

“She’s 91 and still remembers the day they came and took him away from her,” he said.

To honour his grandfather, Chris Breikss has become an unofficial Latvian Olympic team cheerleader. Photograph by: Ian Lindsay, PNG, Vancouver Sun

Chris’ fellowship with the Latvians also included a meet and greet with the President and Prime Minister who visited Vancouver to support their team as evidenced in a video clip from the event: President of Latvia Meets with Vancouver Latvians: The President of Latvia, Valdis Zatlers, met with Vancouver Latvians at the University Golf Club at UBC. Later on this day the Latvian Hockey Team takes on Russia in their first game of the 2010 Olympics.

And finally, while at the men’s hockey game vs. Russia, Chris interviewed two Latvian fans with a compelling story with unfinished research, ergo:

According to Martins and Filips Andersons, the flag that they were wearing at the first Latvian hockey game of the 2010 Olympics was from 1917-1918. This was a time when Latvia was first becoming a country in the 1st World War. Could we have had one of the first Latvian flags in hand? It appears so. More details wanted…

An Original Latvian Flag

Now, how do I get my hands on English translations of the collected works of Leonids Breikss?

Posted in Vancouver 20100 Comments

Hockey talk from the Winter Club – Olympic Outsider #14

Hockey talk from the Winter Club – Olympic Outsider #14

Posted in Podcast, Vancouver 20102 Comments

AdHack Photowalk February 18th

AdHack is hosting a 2nd photowalk to shoot Olympic advertising (preferably the un-official kind) tomorrow, February 18th @ 3pm, meeting at Stadium Skytrain station, to help get some photos for our contest at http://olympicadawards.com. After the photowalk, it’s beers at the On the Edge pub to watch Canada vs. Switzerland men’s hockey.

Here is the blog post for more info: http://blog.adhack.com/2010/02/17/photowalk-to-capture-olympic-ads/

Vancouver2010 sponsors: The Bay

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Posted in Culture, Fans, Vancouver 2010, photos2 Comments

Recapping Olympic Hospitality and Reaction – Olympic Outsider #13

Posted in Podcast, Vancouver 20100 Comments

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