Newsletter: February 2002 Archives

02/08/2002 Newsletter



The Olympics are here!

View some pictues of Salt Lake City downtown

Friday 02/08/02

We have been really enjoying the olympic experience. On Friday Miekka and I had the opportunity to go to the K90 Ski Jumping qualifications. We got up at four in the morning and ate a hearty breakfast. We arrived at the Utah Olympic Park at six in the morning. Just as we got there the wind started blowing and it started snowing.

We got in line to get through security, that took about an hour. While in line we were told that the event would be postponed and that we would get more information later. We made it through security and into the park

From the security and check in point it was a mile walk up hill to get to the actual ski jumping area. There were shuttles, but we decided to make the walk. That ended up being a good choice, cause we were really cold and the walk warmed us right up. We were also rewarded with a pin for our efforts.

We got to the top of the hill and mingled with thousands of other people. It was quite exciting. Around 9:30 we were told that the jumping was going to be postponed until noon. We watched the grooming of the huge ski jumps and marveled that anyone would willingly huck them selves off of such a huge hill. The average jump is at least 90 meters with some much longer then that. Can you imagine sailing through the air for the length of a football field? Insane!

Finally around 11:00 we were told that the event was cancelled for the day. We were mildly dissapointed that we couldn't see the jumpers, but we found the over all experience to be quite worth it! We heard later that day that winds had gusted upto 109 miles per hour on some of the peaks! So, aside from being really cold, and not getting to see the jumpers jump we had a blast at our first olympic event.

Saturday 02/09/02

On Saturday we decided to head down town Salt Lake and check out what was going on. There are a ton of free activites that are going on all the time. For this outing we headed to the Olympic Medals Plaza.

We didn't want to fight traffic so we headed to the nearest trax station. Since we live about halfway up the trax line by the time the trains got to us they were packed full of people. Three trains passed us by before we decided to ditch trax and grab a bus. The bus was full! Our driver said he had never seen so many people on his bus before. We enjoyed a scenic route up to downtown. Usually we either shoot straight up State, or jump on 215 and get off on 6th South. Anyway, we eventually arrived downtown.

The Medals Plaza is located on South Temple near the Delta Center. To do anything associated with the olympics you have to go through security. We waited for approximately 45 minutes to get through all the security checks. Inside the plaza there is quite a bit to do. We heard the Dave Matthews Band warming up for their concert that night.

Our first stop was to the Olympic Super Store. All the prices were extremely overinflated, but it was fun to peruse through all the olympic memorabilia

There are a lot of booths that have been put up by various olympic sponsers, all of whom were hawking their wares. We had fun visiting various booths and getting free stuff.

Then we headed to the Coke booth, or perhaps square is a better word. At one of their tents they had setup various interactive Olympic events that one could play. Of course there were huge lines in front of each event. They had curling, luge, bobsled, and hockey. We watched the curlers for a bit and it intrigued us. (We are thinking of getting tickets to a curling event). I decided to try the luge.

The luge event was a U shaped course. I waited in line for about an hour and a half before it was my turn. The way the event was set up was that every ten people were divided into different countries. Then each person would get a chance to run the luge course for the fastest time. At the end of the run olympic pins were given to the Gold, Silver and Bronze medalist. The line snaked though the middle of the luge course and there were conveniently placed cow bells which could be used to cheer on the lugers. It was quite loud, but very fun.

After about an hour and a half wait it was my turn! I represented the netherlands. Unfortunately I was a horrible luger and I didn't win. But it was a blast going around the course. It makes me want to try a real course... don't tell miekka.

We meandered our way home after the luging experience. We happened to be in the right place at the right time, cause we saw the torch being run down south temple. We were curious to know why in the world the torch was being run when the cauldron was already lit. We found out later that evening that they were lighting a second cauldron in the medals plaza for the medal ceremony.

Except for a rather large crowd waiting for trax, our ride home was fairly quick. We got home about eight, and watched ski jumping, figure skating and highlights from the comfort of our couch.

I've really caught the olympic bug, hopefully I don't wear Miekka out before we are done!