Best day at the Games

I can’t imagine a better day at these Olympic Games!

I started the day off with volunteering at the Olympic Village, watched Clara Hughes’ final race, which ended with a bronze medal!

Then, “Oh Canada” broke out on skytrains and on buses when Canada scored over and over again on the Russian in men’s hockey quarterfinal!  At the Pacific Coliseum, I then witnessed the exciting short-track relay where China won gold and set a new WR, with hundreds proud Chinese waving our flag and cheering them on!   Then I met a broadcaster from CCTV, 于嘉, who was the commentator for many sports games I have watched in China.  However, I didn’t recognize the Olympic Champion that was sitting beside him until my friend from China saw me behind her on TV.

I always thought that our Chinese are way more patriotic than the Canadians, but at these Games, Canadian have shown their patriotism to a new height.  It is unbelievable to see how many maple leaves you can see on the street, how many times you can hear “Oh Canada”, and how they have painted the town red.  This is the magical power of the Olympic Games!

Olympic volunteering at Athlete’s Village

As thousands blue jackets are working for the games, I am proud to be one of them. What is even more special is that I work in the Olympic Village. Every time I walk around the Village, seeing athletes from around the world wearing their uniforms and hanging their national flags on the balconies, I feel so privileged to be part of this world-class event.

Georgian Flag at the Village

Because of the tragedy of the luge athlete at the beginning of the Games, Georgian flags are hanging everywhere with a black rope. Every time a Georgian athlete competes, everyone is cheering for them.

With not much tasks on hand for the most of the time, I had the chance to get to know other vollies and watch the Games together. Those long shift hours aren’t seemed that long at the end. Every one of us comes here with a unique background. For example, our team lead, Angela, had been to and worked for four Olympic Games. She even brought a Paralympic Torch from 2008 Beijing Games! And of course, I brought my Olympic Torch from these Games.

2008 Paralympic Torch and my 2010 Olympic Torch

RCMPs from across the country are here, and they always put on smiles when we pass by.  🙂

Two more encounters with the Flame

A week after I carried the Torch, the Olympic Flame arrived in my neighbourhood. Even my dad allowed me to drive to Park & Ride so that I could come home early to catch a glimpse of the parade.

There were a lot more people cheering along the way in Richmond than there were in Prince Rupert.  I guess it’s because we are a lot closer to the Olympic Games as a Venue City!

RBC's emcee on the top middle gave me a shout-out.

Everything was so familiar: the police closing the roads, the Coca-Cola’s and RBC’s trucks following behind.  Because I was wearing the red torchbearer’s T-shirt, the emcees on both the RBC and the Coca-Cola’s truck quickly spotted me and gave me a shout-out.  What’s even more amazing was that the emcee on the Coca-Cola’s Happy Truck not only recognize me as a torchbearer, but also remembered me carrying the Torch in Prince Rupert!

It seemed like nothing else could be able to match that level of excitement.  But something did – the Olympic Flame.  Once again, I saw the Flame burning, travelling, and bringing joy to the cheerful people.  The crowd was so huge in front my high school that I couldn’t even come close to it.  This time, I was one of the many chasing the Flame, and it was almost as exciting as carrying it.

Olympic Flame in Richmond, BC

Two days later, the Flame came to UBC, my university.  Beside the huge crowd, it was protesters.  I don’t understand what they were trying to accomplish, but it shows the freedom of expression this country embraces.  The Flame passed by quickly because of the security concern, but I was still able to take another look at the Flame that I carried, cheered on, before it will light the cauldron on Friday night.

Protesters at UBC

Since I came to Canada four years ago, this has been the greatest display of patriotism by the Canadian I have ever seen.  This is the wonderful magic of the Olympic Movement.

Olympic Moment

The moment when I first touched my Olympic Torch was just the beginning of a night I would never forget.

Emotion filled the relay preparation room early when one torchbearer showed his great generosity.  One local torchbearer, Justin, couldn’t afford to keep his torch after the run, so another torchbearer, Otto Kamenzin from Australia, helped Justin purchase the torch and keep the memory alive long after today.  What a great gift!  As soon as the briefing began, I started realizing that this is it!  The moment I’ve been waiting for has finally come.  Even our torchbearer manager, who had done the same orientation so many times, got a little emotional, but who wouldn’t?  Being able to see Canadians from across the country unite together for the torch relay has to be really special.

From the second we stepped out of City Hall, the people of Prince Rupert began to show their excitement for this world-class event.  As we walked through the crowd, I could feel that all eyes were focused on our beautiful torches and that they were all anxious to see the Flame coming to town.

Once we boarded the shuttle, celebration among our torchbearers began.  We all shared our stories and our excitement for the moment to come.  The inside of the shuttle was decorated fabulously with an Olympic-theme.  After stepping out of the vehicle among cheers, I was then greeted by Coca-Cola’s “Happy Truck” and RBC’s truck.  Their enthusiasm and warm hugs made me a lot less nervous for what’s about to come.

At 5:50 PM, February 1, 2010, at the intersection of 2nd Ave. and 2nd St. in Prince Rupert, B.C. Canada, the torch in my hand was lit by another Vancouverite, Kelly-Ruth Mercier, with the Olympic Flame!

At the same time, my rapid-beating heart was also lit!  For a moment, it was just me and the Flame.  It felt like I was breathing with the Flame as one; the world was so quiet I could hear the gas burning.  The Flame was bright – the brightest thing I have ever looked up upon.

Then I started running with the Flame and doing the things I had planed – a 360 spin in the air.  It was not easy to do while holding a burning torch, but I think it went well because both my mom and Kelly said them loved it.  Once I reached 3rd St., the crowd that was lining up along the road started cheering, loudly!  I was so pumped so I did another spin, in the reverse direction.

(Photo by Pamela Borges)

Gradually, the weight of the torch started forcing me to switch hands from now and then, but I would never lower the torch, not a bit, because the Olympic Flame truly deserves to be always up high.

(Photo by Pamela Borges)

Being able to run in the middle of a busy street, with four policemen guarding you and the Flame close-by, more police in front and behind, and even more people cheering for you is really something special!  All the eyes were on me and the Flame that has traveled across Canada and united Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

(Photo by Pamela Borges)

In the final meters to the finish line, I celebrated this greatest run in my life by posing the iconic “Lightning Bolt” pose by the fastest man on Earth, a great Olympian, Usain Bolt.  Apparently, the crowd, including the RCMP, loved it!  So I did another one before holding the torch up high and passing on the Olympic Flame, which would continue its journey to Vancouver in the next 11 days through the hands of many more torchbearers.

(Photo by Pamela Borges)

As advised by another UBC torchbearer, Brian Le, I spent the next 10 seconds really focusing and staring at the bright Flame, while it was getting dimmer and dimmer and finally extinguished by an officer.

After I got into the torchbearer bus, I followed a tradition of this Relay by leaving a burnt mark on the ceiling of the shuttle with my hot torch.  When I sat down, my whole body was shaking.  It was an indescribable feeling, and all I could say was “Wow”!

Then, I signed the torchbearer book, and here are the words I remember I wrote down:

“What a dream that has come true.

Amazing feeling.  It is unreal.

This is [truely] an Olympic Moment.

I will never forget this evening.”

The Olympic night wasn’t over by then, not even close.  If carrying the flame brought excitement, then meeting the people of Prince Rupert brought joy. Everyone, from toddlers to the elderly, all come to me asking for a photo or a chance to hold the torch.  I happily accepted everyone’s request and smiled to hundreds of cameras – each captured an Olympic moment of their own.

Kelly-Ruth Mercier

Olympic torchbearer uniform

With less than 6 days until February 1, when I will be carrying the Olympic Torch, I’d like to share some of the pictures of my torchbearer uniform.

Torch Relay Logo

Toque

Olympic Rings on the back of the uniform

Red Mittens

Olympic volunteer uniform

Posted On December 24, 2009

Filed under photo, volunteer
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Today, I tried on my 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games volunteer uniform!  Really love the color and the design!  Looking forward to the crazy February in the new year.

The Journey Begins

Posted On October 30, 2009

Filed under torch relay

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The 2010 Winter Olympic Torch Relay is officially under way today!  Luckily, I had the time to watch the historic ceremony at Victoria through ctv.ca at school.  From now on, the anticipation will start building up till the day when I will finally carry the torch myself!  Hopefully, more and more people can shard this excitement for the Games and the Olympic Spirit as the flame travels all over Canada!

Here’s a very inspirational and motivating video about the torch relay: (official version at vancouver2010.com)  It is likely that you will watch this video and hear this song many many times during the torch relay.

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To go or not to go

Posted On October 1, 2009

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September 30 was a great day.  It was not only the day when the national day military parade took place in China (Oct.1 local time), but also the day when I received an email congratulating me on becoming an Olympic Torchbearer!

Congratulations

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