Taking in Vancouver 2010: The Olympic Experience beyond the Medals

  Michael Nussbaum ’11
Sports Editor

As the result of having very good friends, I am privileged to say that I watched, cheered, and contributed to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Colombia.

Before jumping into events I saw, celebrities I met, or day-trips I took, what I found the most interesting about the games was the Olympic spirit that surfaced Vancouver during the duration of my time there.

First of all, my stay at the Olympics was like no other experience ever before for the weather purposes. Depending on where you live, it should be colder and more snowy-er at the Winter Olympics than at your hometown. This was not the case for me. At the time I was at the Olympics, Westport, CT was the coldest it had been all year, thanks to a massive snow storm a week before. At Vancouver, it was 60 degrees everyday–it felt like a modified version of spring break.

But more interestingly, when I found myself attempting to close my eyes at night, there was this sensation that kept me awake. The streets were packed, and the volume was off the charts–all in good purpose. It felt as if the world had won the gold, not one country–every night.

From my window I could see the overwhelming Canadian flags, American t-shirts, Russian jumpsuits, Chinese hats, and Korean signs. But even with those well-known countries dominating the picture, I was still able to distinguish the Latvians, the Netherlands, and Switzerland from the pack. From my beautiful view from my hotel, I never once saw any conflicts between any countries, however, just pure excitement, anticipation, and honest nationalism.

I saw Basketball Jones, a street act that attracted hundreds of eyes. But more remarkably, Vancouver had this amazing ability to keep so many tourists entertained. From my hotel room I could see the major attraction: a zip-line. Yes, a zip-line in the middle of the city.

Although I didn’t have the patience, or the opportunity to do it, it was the definition of pure excitement. It was a 30 second ride and a five and a half hour wait. It still amazes me some people waited that long to ride.

The anticipation was evident at every street corner. Whether it was light up pictures, art displays, mock-bobsleds for people to take pictures in, to native american silent petitions against the games, there was an equal representation of all types of people and more importantly, always something to see or do.

For this reason I suppose the Olympics was too hard to describe to any of my peers. It was because of that feeling of no tension between nations whatsoever. It was like no experience I had ever seen or felt and unfortunately cannot be seen by everyone in the world in person.

From this experience I have also realized that there is density to the Olympics. Dense because of the layers that lie beneath the competition.

The Olympic games were an Olympic experience that truly opened my eyes to what this world can bring to the table when united under a game.