So we only got one medal. But it was gold!

Not long before the flame goes out here in Vancouver and barring a miracle, us Brits are going to come out of the games with just one solitary medal. 

Does anyone care? Well not really. After all, the Winter Olympics are a definite second to the summer games and it seems that many people in Britain have barely noticed that they’re going on. But, having been absorbed in it all over here in Vancouver, it was amazing to see the British interest suddenly pick up last Friday when Amy Williams won her skeleton gold. 

More out of luck than judgement, Nich and I were fortunate enough to have been there. Having watched countless glorious Olympic moments over the years, it was a real thrill to actually witness the spectacle and feel that surge of national pride which caused British ears to prick up briefly back home in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

Amy Williams on top of the podium in Whistler

I remember back to 2008 and watching the cycling and swimming golds and thinking that I want to see that at some point. Obviously 2012 is THE opportunity for all of us Brits to get a taste of it, but the experience a Whistler last Friday has put a huge dent in making this whole trip one of the best things I’ve done.  Other highlights included…

 – Getting a mail from Sarah and Paul Lewthwaite with a little pic from the BBC coverage of the skeleton showing me parading through the crowd of disappointed Canadians waving the Union flag. 

Screen grab from iplayer…look closely at the bottom in the centre.


Nich is wearing the white hat


And I have the flag

 – Seeing Sir Steve Redgrave chatting to Amy Williams after the podium ceremony.

Sir Steve Redgrave with Claire Balding live on BBC Sport

 – The sport itself. It’s incredible to see a person flying past you that quickly whilst essentially lying on a tea tray. I hope this little vid does it justice. 

Watching skeleton at the Whistler sliding centre. Note: Taken down by the IOC! back soon.

What was also apparent was how Nodar Kumaritashvili would have had absolutely no chance of surviving his accident. I stood at the very place he crashed and the speeds they were coming through there were astonishing. You can see the hastily erected white wooden screen and orange padded girders on the video.

Aside from this excitement we have also had the chance to watch the British curling team in action, although they’re unfortunately not in the medals race despite being contenders, and an ice hockey game. The sport is huge over here as I’m sure you’ll know. The Olympics is their World Cup so it would be a little bit like having the football world cup within the Olympics in London. i.e insane.  Can’t wait for Sunday’s Canada-USA final.  Watching the Slovaks beat the Norweigans made me see that ice hockey the UK is at a totally different level. Nottingham Panthers it was not.

Canada Hockey Place on Feb 23rd: Finished Norway 3-4 Slovakia

And finally… Reuben Gotto made it over for the night! He jetted in before flying over to Oz with Canadian band ‘Alexisonfire’. They were playing at one of the free gigs in Vancouver. Unfortunately for them, they had to stop their show because of a collapsed barricade and injuries to some of the quite substantial audience. Still, it was good to meet the guys and have a few beers even if I did end up embarrassing myself a bit by not fully realising how massive they are over here (they were at Rock City, Nottingham last time I saw them).

Reuben turns up on Granville Street. Amazing

Me and George from Alexisonfire.

Closing ceremony is last thing on Sunday, then we’re off to explore Vancouver Island for a week before returning for the
Paralympics. Make sure you catch that Canada v USA ice hockey game! 8pm UK time on the Beeb.

2 thoughts on “So we only got one medal. But it was gold!

  1. p.s I particularly like that there is a woman taking a picture of you on her cameraphone, while you photograph Roo. "It’s THE DaVe Cheeseman!!1!" etc etc.

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