Liquid sunshine would sum up the weather today, but minus the weather, it was a wonderful day! It was the first event I have attended at Whistler, in fact any mountain event for that matter, and a great event it was.
Driving along the sea-to-sky highway on our way to Creekside, we were talking about how different the atmosphere is at the Paralympic Games compared to the Olympic Games. We talked about how at the Olympic Games, when Canada won a medal, the entire country knew about it with seconds, people were texting eachother "Did you hear about our gold?" And now at the Paralympic Games people barely even get excited over it.
An example of this is after the Women's Giant Slalom Visually Impaired, Canada came in third place which is amazing considering Canada's Viviane Forest fell in both of her races but managed to be fast enough to make up for it. Anyways, the commentator kind of announced who was in first, second and third, but they didn't really emphasize that these were the medal winners, and it wasn't until the next event started that we realized we had won a Paralympic medal. The crowd was obviously cheering, but it wasn't the same as at the Olympics where everyone would be whipping out their phones to update their friends.
Another difference we noticed with the Paralympics is that the crowd isn't so predominantly Canadian, there is much more diversity with the fans. We were trying to figure out why this might be; maybe because Canadians are partied out from the Olympic Games. or because there are less fans watching, then the groups from other countries stand out more? What are your thoughts?
Chris Williamson of Canada was 0.4 seconds away from medaling, which is super close for Paralympic Alpine Races, because another thing we noticed is the difference in racers in the Paralympics is a matter of a few seconds, and in the Olympics it was a matter of just milliseconds. For instance Canada's Viviane Forest was 9 seconds slower than the silver medalist who was 6 seconds behind first, where as in the Olympic Games it was a matter of 0.8 seconds between first and eleventh places.
Another difference between the two Games has been the security, I'm sure you heard about the huge amounts of security for the Olympic Games and now for the Paralympic Games there is absolutely none, you simply walk right into the venue. But besides from the actually venue security, even the athletes protection is much less. After these Paralympians raced they just came out into the public accessibility areas and talked with people, and they have no security or anything, you would have never seen that in the Olympic Games. Also the athletes seem more willing to talk to people, and it seems like they are enjoying the attention a little bit more than we saw with the Olympic athletes.
So as you have read there are plenty of differences between the two segments of the 2010 Winter Games, however there are many similarities as well. Something I learned the other day was that Paralympic means "parallel" as in parallel to the Olympic Games. So these games are related however they have their differences, and I think between the two of them, Vancouver 2010 will cater to everyone's interests and will be a huge success!