Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Canadian Hospitality

One thing that has struck me ever since I got off the plane in Vancouver is the Canadian Hospitality and how much the Canadians want to make this a great Olympic experience for all those involved. We call them the blue coats. Every Canadian you see in the Vancouver 2010 blue coats are volunteers. There are at least 3 volunteers for every athlete here. In talking to some of these volunteers, the general picture is this. Each one works 8-12 hour shifts. Some jobs are just to open doors and be present, present to answer questions or give directions. There friendly and do there job well. They aren't paid, there volunteers. What struck me the most though, many of these people took a leave of absence from work for a month! Unpaid. One women had saved for the previous four years so she could take the time to volunteer and be apart. They want to know they were apart of making a great Olympic experience, that Canada did it right.

Tonight we went out for oysters at Bearfoot Bistro in the Whistler Village. I can't recommend this place enough and that was before tonight. The owner took us down into the most impressive wine cellar i've ever seen in a movie or real life. He told us the story of champagne, and proceeded to show us how to saber off the top of a bottle of Dom Perignon. It's from Napoleonic days, and before war they would chop off the top of a bottle and if successful, it meant good karma and if not, drink up, because you may not be coming back. Later we had Nitro ice cream. They make it in front of you with special cream and liquid dry ice. It was amazing. When we got ready to leave the owner simply said it was on the house, have a great Olympics. Hospitality.

The athletes that have been to 3 and even 4 Olympics say that this is by far the best Olympic experience they've ever had. I can't begin to say how much energy and good will is around. This has become such a great experience because of people that have given their time and energy to make sure we are having a good time. My friend Billy successfully chopped off the bottle. Good Omen? I think so. Training starts tomorrow, but no matter what, I will know this, Canada got it right.

1 comment:

Molly Mac Neil said...

It's been so inspiring reading your updates on your blog. I can totally relate to you on this particular post, because my husband is from Nova Scotia, Canada. And fortunately for Canadians, the hospitality is present at all times, and their character during the Olympics represents who they are at all times of the year. It's such a beautiful country, and after the footage from the Olympics, I'm certain it will become an even bigger tourist attraction.

I'm sure you hear this all of the time, but you are such an outstanding person and make a great representative for team USA! We're proud to have you and you should be proud of yourself! Enjoy the rest of your stay, and we wish you the best of luck in your future Olympic endeavors.