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Published: February 22nd 2018
Sunday, Feb. 18th
The days are just flying by now that I'm working and seeing events. My assignment at work recently has been to watch the housekeeping staff to be sure they are doing everything they are supposed to do (because there have been complaints from the athletes). I go with them to the rooms and make sure the trash is emptied, sheets & towels are changed, floors and countertops are wiped down, etc. It's not a bad assignment - I've been able to talk to the athletes. At first I was hesitant to strike up a conversation with them, but I got over that! One coach (I think he was the bobsled coach) called me the Quality Control Inspector - so I started using that as a job title!!!!
We are so lucky with TeamUSA. We have 3 TV's in the office, and they gave one room to us the Assistants. They give us snacks & refreshments. I've talked to other Assistants that don't have this. We watched the Ski Slopestyle event and Nick Goepper took Silver. I had just talked to him the day before while I was being Quality Control Inspector in his apartment.
That evening a bunch of us went to Phoenix Park to see the Men's Ski Aerials event. Iilya (works with me with TeamUSA. He is from Ukraine) arranged for us to go with Anton, Marek (both Czecks), Aiste (Lithuanian), & a Korean woman and we got to go in a car - no bus!!! Wahoo! Phoenix Park is nearly an hour away from PyeongChang. Iilya knows how to work the system (he had given Shaun White a ride here) and knew where to drive the car in (the car has accreditation to go into the venues) and we walked in the venue. These venues are killer: huge hills to go up, stairs, more hills. Some of the USOC staff were there also.
USA did not advance after the 2nd run, and Ukraine went on to win gold. This is HUGE for Ukraine. As of today this is their only medal. We hung around with the Ukraine team, took photos, did silly stuff (like we always do), and had a car party on the way home. Have you ever had a car party? Me neither. Our ride home to the dormitory would take 1 1/2 hours. We stopped for beer, connected Aiste's phone to bluetooth & sang at the top of our lungs, bounced around to the music. The guys had disco apps on their phones & put a water bottle over it to show the disco light. It was pretty crazy. We went to the beach & took photos, then to a historical building & took more photos, then finally home. A few of them continued to party near our dorm, and the rest of us went home at 1:30 a.m.
Monday, Feb. 19th
Today was the same as yesterday - without the car party. We watched the Olympics at work, I did my Quality Control Inspector thing. I was tired from the night before and went home after work & to bed.
Tuesday, Feb. 20th
Today I went to the Ice Dancing, long program event. My fellow workers were nice enough to let me come in late. Typically I work afternoon shift which goes from 11:30 to 19:30. The Ice Dancing Event lasted until 13:45 which means with 2 buses I might get there by 15:00.
The Ice Dancing was spectacular. The best skaters always go last. When the Shibutani siblings skated I got really emotional. I think it hit me that I am at the Olympics watching incredible athletes doing their sport. The Shibutani's ended up with a Bronze. Canada took Gold and they were stunning. France took Silver (yeah France - I'm half French even if it does date back to the late 1500's and early 1600's when they came to a land that would be called Canada. It still counts. I root for Poland too - my other half. Heck most Americans are immigrants - can someone tell Trump that.)
Now the challenging part: the buses. I took the TC4 to GVL. Good so far. Then I needed to take the TA21 to PVL. I was standing at a spot that had TA buses listed in the bus stop. A TA21 goes flying by. Hmmm, so I looked up the schedule. In a half hour another TA21 goes flying by (and during this time other TA buses were stopping at this bus stop.) I texted Tammy (she knows the buses better than me) and asked her where I should be getting this bus. I was hungry so I went to the Czech Hospitality House for some food. While I was there another TA21 went flying by. Tammy told me to go into GVL to the big TA bus stop. Hooray - that worked! Needless to say I got to work at 16:00, a tad bit late. No one minded.
Us assistants split our shifts. Gena, Kang, and MInsoo went home around 17:30 which left Tammy and me. I asked her if she wanted to see the Ski Jump half of the Nordic Combined. (Tristan your homework assignment is to look up Nordic Combined and Biathlon events. Look for the history of the events and when they were first added to the Olympics.) She said yes, and off we went (after figuring out which bus to take - the TA1). When we got to the TA1 it turns out it wasn't running after 17:30. What? Okay, what's the other alternative - TA2, which goes to the area but we had to walk farther. The Alpensia area is so beautiful - it's where the ski jump, big air, cross country, and biathlon events are held.
The Ski Jump event was exciting. There's a green line which marks the farthest a jumper has gone. While we were there (1 hour) the green line moved farther & farther down the hill. The crowd was fun. The Germans had crazy mohawk hats and a huge flag, the Japanese had lots of flags. By the end of the event it was: Japan, Norway, and Austria for 1st, 2nd, 3rd. But the other half of this event is a 10k cross country ski. We didn't go to that event - but the next stop was the Biathlon relay.
Tammy & I walked over to that event. The women start: do a cross country ski lap, shoot the targets prone, do another lap (unless they missed targets & do a penalty lap), shoot the targets standing, do another lap, then tag off to another woman. The same number of laps & shooting, then they tag off to a man. The standings change really fast depending of how well they ski and how well they shoot. USA was 5th, then 11th, then 9th, then 15th, etc. We calculated how long it would take to do the buses home to the dorm, and decided we needed to go so we didn't watch the whole event. TA2 back to PVL. There was a huge crowd waiting for the TW155, so we decided to take the TA21 to GVL and transfer to the TC4 to get home. We got home about 22:30.
Results: In Nordic combined the Germans took all medals; in Biathlon France, Norway, Italy.
Wednesday, Feb. 21st
Today I have a day off. I went to the snowboard big air at Alpensia. This means I took the TW122 (7:45) from our campus dormitory to PVL, then I switched to TA1 (8:30). I missed part of the 1st run and there was a huge break (about an hour) till the 2nd run. I had a snack, took some pictures, partied with Team Netherlands and some Korean fans. Then the 2nd run started. I was standing next to some Canadians and the parents of a snowboarder named Tyler was there. Unfortunately he came in 7th and only the first 6 advance. At the end of Heat 1, Run 2 Canada, Sweden, USA, USA, Switzerland, and USA qualified for the final. At the end of Heat 2, Run 2 New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Norway, Canada, and Great Britain qualified for the final. The finals are on Saturday.
I went home (2 buses again), and took a nap. Seems like when I work and go out at night I am really tired. The bus riding takes a long time and when I plan my day I have to figure out the schedule of the buses, where the bus stop is, and how long it will take. I went back to PVL for the women's Bobsled event on the TW122 18:45 bus, then switched to TA4. This is a small bus and was nearly full. The rules state that we can take the TA bus but the priority is for athletes and if the bus is full we have to wait for the next one. Kay & Rachel (British volunteers) & a Korean male volunteer were on the bus so I hung out with them.
The bus went up a giant hill & dropped us off at the finish line for the bobsled. It was an interesting place to watch the event. We saw the 1st run and I cheered loudly for Jamaica and Nigeria, as well as USA. They reversed the order for the 2nd run (actually these were runs 3 & 4 because runs 1 & 2 were the previous night), so the last team went first (Nigeria). I talked to several representatives from NIgeria and told them I was so happy that Nigeria had a team and was competing in the Olympics. I think the woman was from the Nigerian Embassy, and they were interviewed right after I talked to them.
We were sitting in an area full of family and friends of the athletes, and representatives from their delegations. The place was really exciting. Final: Germany, USA, and Canada. We ran to bus TA4 and got to PVL, then I showed them how to take TA21 then TC 4 home instead of waiting 40 minutes for TW122. Imagine that, I actually knew more about the buses than someone else. I'll have the bus system totally figured out by the time I go home!
I will do photos later. It's really tedious to choose the photos to represent what I've done and it's late & I need to go to sleep.
Till next time.
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