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Archive for February, 2010

THE ATHLETES VILLAGE EXPERIENCE

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

What a thrill it was this weekend to spend a night with my daughters in the Athletes Village in Whistler. Even though they are only 6 and 8 years old the fact they were hanging with the best athletes in the world was not lost on then. The staff at the village were amazing and made my girls feel so welcome. It started with the RCMP as we went through security screening. They showed the girls how to do a security inspection of a vehicle and even let them try the pole with the mirror on it to look under the car. Next we went to guest check in where the volunteer staff took the girls passports and gave them their very own accreditation. From there the staff at the metal detector screening helped the girls through the process and away we went!

They were amazed how great it looked with all the Olympic signage, lights, flags and of course the Olympic rings. All the houses have the athletes countries flags hanging from the balconies so the girls took turns trying to guess who they were. We took a trip up to see “Slider” the moose – Canada’s mascot before calling it a night. In the morning the hilight of the trip- getting to eat breakfast with the athletes in the dining hall. The facility seats about 900. The girls were intimidated at first as they were the only kids there but once they realized the athletes (and them) could eat anything they want for free they had at it! Ayden had her pin collection scarf on so a few athletes stopped by to have a look. Another favorite spot was of course the games room, Rock Band, Wi stations, video games- they had it all.

Thanks to all the staff and the athletes who made my girls feel so welcome. It will be something they will remember for ever.

"SLIDER" the moose

"SLIDER" the moose

 

Eating with the athletes- Free food!

Eating with the athletes- Free food!

The gym

The gym

THE OLYMPIC SCENE IN WHISTLER VILLAGE

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

For those of you planning to spend a few days during the Olympics you better plan on wearing your “colours” or the Europeans will show you up! The night life and the vibe in Whistler Village has been incredible. The nightly medals plaza ceremonies have been sell outs and the friendly country to country barbs have been flying left and right. There’s nothing more Whistler than a Canadian athlete (Jon Montgomery Skeleton!) who has just won gold being escorted by the RCMP through hundreds of people down Village Stroll in uniform while carrying a pitcher of beer. What a classic Whistler moment. It so great to see everyone from Whistler experiencing what I tried to explain for the last 5 years. The Olympics is a gathering of good like no other. People from around the world celebrating excellence and their country.

AK with "Captain America"

AK with "Captain America"

"FRANCE!"

"FRANCE!"

AUSSIE MANIA

AUSSIE MANIA

Ski jumpers are crazy- flat out. The Long Hill competition today was amazing and a blue bird day in Callaghan Valley. The Swiss won the gold on the final jump. If you have never taken the 15 minute drive to the Callaghan of the Sea to Sky Highway you have to check it out. The views and the Cross Country skiing facilities are incredible.

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Long Hill Men's Final

Long Hill Men's Final

 

The Swiss celebrate the win!

The Swiss celebrate the win!

The view of the Callaghan Valley from Ski Jump.

The view of the Callaghan Valley from Ski Jump.

THERE’S NOTHING LIKE THE DOWNHILL

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

It was great to see perfect weather in Whistler for the Men’s and Women’s downhill races this week. Having moved here in 1991 I definitely took the World Cup downhill races for granted until they were cancelled of the circuit a few years ago. Standing in the general admission section at the finish line this week was a flat out riot. The Swiss fans with their giant cowbells absolutely hammered by 10am, the French fans with their full on brass band, the Canadians in their sea of red, the US fans and their “USA, USA” chants- what a great atmosphere.

After watching the Women’s downhill with my girls today I hope they want to ski again! A nasty, hard course with lots of technical air led to many crashes but in the end the course delivered the best skiers to the top of the podium. Whistler’s very own Britt Janyk skied great and finished 6th. There is no question Whistler Mountain offers two of the best downhills in the world and it was only matched by the awesome venue and crowds from around the world.

 “I have a need, and what I need is :

"MORE COWBELL"

"MORE COWBELL"

 

There were some nasty crashes in the Women’s downhill. This was recorded live. Too bad for the skier from Sweden. She was making a run for the podium before distaster struck.

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Great day at the Luge yesterday as well. As Jerry Seinfeld said, “the Luge is like the Bobsled except there is no sled, its just Bob! One man sliding down a hill hanging on for dear life!” Another amazing venue.

 

The Luge

The Luge

AK

Team Canada Marches Through Whistler Village

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

As a past athlete I can tell you that the Opening Ceremonies for an Olympics can be difficult if you aren’t mentally prepard for it. It is a full day with travel to the venue and the staging for the ceremony and the the ceremony itself can be a 5 hour ordeal. But when it’s in your home country who cares! National pride takes over and it can be a real boost to your performance rather than a hindrance.

It was a special night last night in both Vancouver and Whistler for the opening of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. At the Athletes Village in Whistler it was an amazing site as all the countries lined up for their buses in full uniform for the trip Vancouver. The athletes were all leaving with a heavy heart as one of their fellow competitors was killed yesterday morning in a training run at the Whistler Sliding Centre. It was incredible to see the Georgian team enter BC Place in memory of their teammate. It will be a lasting memory for me.

Having had a sneak preview of the opening ceremony by participating in the final dress rehearsal I was still blown away by watching it on TV. How about the whales!!  In Whistler and estimated 2000 people jammed village square to do something Team Canada has never done before- march through the streets of the host city! Decked out in our Canada gear I had my two girls stationed right at the fence where the athletes entered. The crowd went crazy as the team entered. Michael Janyk who grew up in Whistler and is a member of Canada’s ski team spoke about how amazing it was to be on the stage in his home town in front of so many people at an Olympic Games. He speech was amazing and heartfelt. The crowd launched into “Oh Canada” and sent the team on their way. It was a great way to get the games started as a fan and I’m sure a great way for the athletes in Whistler to march in the games.

Crowd cheers in Whistler Village Square as Team Canada enters

Crowd cheers in Whistler Village Square as Team Canada enters

Team Canada on stage

Team Canada on stage

Here comes CANADA!

Here comes CANADA!

Team Canada enters to 60,000!

Team Canada enters to 60,000!

Memorial for Georgian slider Kumaritashvili

Memorial for Georgian slider Kumaritashvili

Last Team Welcome ceremony today in Athletes Village

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Well its been an action packed first week at the Athletes Village. The Team Welcome Ceremonies have been going very well. We run them in conjunction with welcome ceremonies in Vancouver. Basically how it works is the teams show up in Vancouver or Whistler respectfully and the Village Mayors (Anne Fraser- Sproule and I) welcome the Chef de Missions from each country on stage for a gift exchange, the raising of their flag and the playing of the national anthem. At the end Quatchi and Miga two of the mascots arrive to the venue- you wouldn’t believe the reaction of the athletes!

Today we welcomed Senegal, Morocco, Bermuda and Monaco. Other flag raisings in Whistler have included Mongolia, South Africa, Algeria, Ireland, Albania, Moldova and Tajikistan. It has been a thrill to be involved- the athletes look so young!!

Last night and had the thrill of attending the Opening Ceremony final dress rehearsal as a strand in athlete. It was nice of VANOC to invite past Olympians and a guest to be part of the parade of athletes. We were Team Poland. What a thrill for my mom to walk into BC Place with 40,000 people cheering. The organization of that many athletes is incredible. They stage you by country in Canada Hockey Place first. They had the camermen working the HD big screen to help past the time for the athletes which was fun. From there you assemble alphabetically by team (Greece always goes first and the host country last) and from there you march over to BC Place where you are untited with your countries flag and name bearer. Then its into the stadium you go! I’ll I can say is the opening ceremony was unbelievable. They have created a great show and BC Place looked amazing.

Let the games begin!

Alan welcoming Team Mongolia

Alan welcoming Team Mongolia

 

Team South Africa- 1 athlete!

Team South Africa- 1 athlete!

 

View from Vancouver's Athlete Welcome Cermony

View from Vancouver's Athlete Welcome Cermony

 

Team Bermuda welcome ceremony

Team Bermuda welcome ceremony

 

Team Monaco Welcome Ceremony

Team Monaco Welcome Ceremony

THE WHISTLER GOLF CLUB CARRIES THE TORCH!

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

As the Olympics draw closer in our home town of Whistler and the excitement builds I am simply awestruck by the impact the Torch Relay has had on our communities throughout B.C. and Canada. Whistler saw over 10,000 people come out for the lighting of the community cauldron on Friday night. Steve Podborski, “Crazy Canuck” skied the torch down Whistler Mountain after Julie Murray from Whistler and a member of Canada’s Ski Cross team raced it up the mountain by snowmobile. My 8 year old daughter said to me that night- “Dad did you know Julia Murray went to our school!”- that sums it all up right there.

I had the honour of carrying the torch Saturday morning at 7:02 down Village Gate Boulevard and Northlands drive. The Torch Relay staff is simply amazing. There were 13 runners on the Whistler leg of the torch relay on Saturday as it headed to Pemberton. We met the staff at 6am where we were taken through a history of the Olympic Flame. What struck me was the fact at 7:02 I would be the only one in the world carrying the Olympic Flame! Don’t trip, don’t blow it out…… the heart started racing big time!  We introduced ourselves and our connection to Whistler and the Olympics. Kate Webster from Whistler Blackcomb would lead us off at 7am, pass to me and I would then pass to Andree Janyk who’s accomplishments are to long to mention- but her most important one is that she is downhiller Britt and slalomer Michael Janyk’s mom! After a little practice on how we would cross our torches to light the next runner torch, we headed out to the lead bus as a group to drop each runner in position.

Andree and I shared a few laughs over me telling her that she would be crying her eyes out as I approached her- “no way” she said. But just then she got a text from Britt in Nikiska where the ski team is training saying- ‘Good luck mom’ and I knew Andree was toast from there. Just as the emotions of the day began to hit the staff showed us a video of the history of the Olympic Flame layered with the cold play song “Fix You” and that was it- “get out the tissue box” I said.

Here we go! The bus dropped off Kate to a big cheer. We wished her well and the bus then proceeded to drop me off. What an incredible sight. The sky was clear, the moon was out and all my well wished gave me a huge cheer as I stepped off the bus. After a bunch of photos with my family and of course the Whistler Golf Club staff as we awaited Kate and the torch, lots of people I didn’t know who by chance were heading to work on the hill or to their Olympic venue jumped in for photos. Then someone yells out- “here it comes!” I looked down Village Gate and there was Kate giving it up the hill with the flame flying high. I took my position, Kate took hers, I looked at her, tears coming down her face and we lit the torch. It looked so amazing I just stared it it for a while until the staff said “Alan time to run!” Oh yeah right!

Off  I went with my kids runnung beside me “Go Dad Go” What a thrill. I was struck with how beautiful the torch looks while running I couldn’t stop looking at it. I thought about my family, friends, ex team mates, Coach Donohue, those I’ve lost- everything in that three minutes. I approached Andree to light her torch and sure enough she was crying ” I told you you’d cry I said” We shared a hug and off she went. The staff extinguishes the flame right away because of course there can only be one Olympic Flame. After some more quick photos they pick you up on the trail bus and one by one you follow the relay picking up the torch bearers. This was awesome because you get to see each runner fans and share their moment with them when they get back on the bus. The staff take your torch, open it up, take out the fuel and disable the flame system. From there the torch is all yours.

I can’t wait to see who will light the flame in Vancouver. It will obviously mean more to me now. I had the pleasure of meeting Terry Fox at Simon Fraser University where I was playing basketball and where Terry went to school. He is my hero and I hope his mom lights the torch- but whoever it is I can guarantee you I’ll be reaching for the tissue box.

AK

Sales Manager Ro Davies, General Manager Alan Kristmanson, C.P.G.A. Teaching Professional Duncan Savage and Guest Services Supervisor Paul Shimizu.

Sales Manager Ro Davies, General Manager Alan Kristmanson, C.P.G.A. Teaching Professional Duncan Savage and Guest Services Supervisor Paul Shimizu.

Torch Relay Video

ATHLETES VILLAGE WHISTLER OPENS TODAY!

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Congratulations to the staff and volunteers of the Athletes Villages in Whistler and Vancouver. Two lucky volunteers were chosen to cut the ribbon and officially welcome the worlds best athletes to Whistler and Vancouver. Thank you for including me in the ceremony!

Thanks to Michel for the tour of the dining hall for the Athletes. What a facility. With seating for over 900 the athletes have access to the freshest foods whenever they need it. The back of house facilities are incredible. Staff work around the clock prepping foods from a variety of cultures. The food services staff displayed incredible enthusiasm and are truly excited to start feeding the world.

Athletes from around the world began arriving at 3pm today to begin their medal journey. A beautiful Spring like day greeted them with incredible views to West Bowl on Whistler Mountain. The athletes have access to great facilities that include a loaded games room- can’t wait to see the rock band competitions-, fitness centre, internet cafe, bank, retail stores, a hospital they hopefully won’t need, outdoor fire pit and lounge area, outdoor stage with live entertainment and more.

It’s officially “ON” in Whistler. Good luck to all. Stay tuned for updates on the Torch Relay. Can’t wait to run!

AK

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Torch Relay “heating up” in Whistler

Monday, February 1st, 2010

I must confess that when I got the phone call 6 months ago asking me if I would like to run with the torch in Whistler I had no idea what it meant. I have just returned from watching my mother-in-law run with it in Barriere BC (see below) and the impact the relay is having on our country is incredible. My National Basketball teammate and current Toronto Raptors Head Coach Jay Triano told me it was the greatest thing he’s ever done- this from a guy was one three Olympic Teams. Watching the run in person last week made me realize its not the thrill of carrying it that leaves the impact on you its the reaction of the people watching it come through their community that is so incredible. Thank you to Barriere BC for such an incredible day that my mother in law, my kids and I will never forget. I can’t wait to run on Saturday through Whistler as it heads to Pemberton. Friday night the torch comes into Whistler from Squamish. I’ll see you all in village square!

GM Alan Kristmanson at The Torch Relay in Barriere BC

ATHLETES VILLAGE UPDATE

Final preparations are underway for the arrival of athletes from all over the world. Athletes will arrive to incredible accommodations with stunning views of Whistler Mountain. Services for theathletes include a 900 seat dining hall, a full hospital, 2 retail stores, a bank, fitness centre, games room and more. A Co-Mayor of the Athletes Village I will be part of the flag raising ceremonies and will meet and greet the VIP’s that visit the village. The Athletes Village is an improtant part of the athletes experience and it is imperative it can be a place where the athlete can focus, unwind, refuel and get ready for their event. I look forward to working with all the volunteers and staff of the village over the next month and watching the athletes try to achieve their dream!

P.S. Go Canada Go!

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Alan Kristmanson is the General Manager of the Whistler Golf Club and former member of the Canadian National Men’s Basketball team. He is Co-Mayor of the Athletes Village in Whistler for the 2010 Olympic Games and Torch Bearer for the Torch Relay in Whistler February 6th.