Thursday, March 11, 2010

Paralympic Truce Event

As the only Sea-to-Sky Students Live reporter, I was presented with the opportunity to experience the Paralympic Truce event.  I just got back about 5 minutes ago, so I am going to tell you about my adventure.  It was interesting.

I got an email stating I had to be at the Welcome Centre in the Paralympic Athletes' Village by 9:15am.  I was lucky enough to mooch a ride of my dad...who is as sick as a dog right now.  Thanks Daddy!  We started off at about 8:00am.  We hit snow as soon as we got on the highway to Whistler.  This was no light dusting, this was one of Whistler's famous blizzards.  We wanted got stuck behind a snow-plow, which isn't all that bad considering our predicament.  Along the way, we passed a truck in a ditch, and a semi-trick flipped over.  That's how ridiculous the highway is when it's snowing.  It was crazy!

After much driving, we finally made it to the Paralympic Athletes Village.  I went to the Guest Pass desk and told the lady I was media for the Truce Event.  She took my name, checked me  in a told me I had to catch a shuttle to the Guest Pass building.  Ok, I was thinking, this is going to be interesting...I was right.  They didn't have the entrance path cleared, so the lady led me through the exit path which took you to the same place.  We were stopped, however, by the RCMP security.  We were told I needed to be scanned through and get my pass there.  The lady told the officer I was a VIP guest...thats right....VIP.  He told her I still couldn't get through.  Now I don't know who the lady thought I was, but it gets better.  She had security open up the entrance gate for me, but it hadn't been shovelled.  I said that was fine, but she informed me we could wait inside while they shovelled it out for me....there was like 3 inches of snow and I was wearing snow boots.  I agreed to wait inside with her.  Within 5 minutes it was all shovelled out.  I got to the shuttle and was the only on on there, but the bus driver drove me up to the Paralympic Guest Pass Building.  I picked up my pass, went through security, and was in the Village Plaza.  Thank goodness.

For awhile, I thought I was the only one there.  There were a few volunteers, but other than that it was deserted.  I called the lady who was the contact for this event, and she informed me I might be in the wrong place.  Well I couldn't really go anywhere because I had my pass and the people who gave me the pass had my I.D. to insure I returned my pass.  I went to the front desk, and they told me I was in the right place.  I phoned the lady back, and she told me to meet her in the Café.

The Far Coast Café is a tent with couches and coffee tables.  It's a nice little warm place to be.  I met with the lady I had to and waited for the event to start.  I moved closer to the window to get a better look at the stage.  I wasn't paying much attention to who was entering the Café.  Low and behold, the President of VANOC, John Furlong, walked in.  I was shocked.  He was bombarded by people, but made time for as many as possible.  He was sat down, along with IPC (International Paralympic Commitee) President Sir Philip Craven, Patrick Andersen, Wheelchair Basketball Player and Mayor of the Whistler Paralympic Athlete Village, Ken Melamd, Mayor of Whistler, and a representative from the United Nations.

John Furlong was the first to address the crowd.  He talked about how important the Truce is.  How sport CAN inspire peace.   He talked about how the Truce Monument will be a permanent legacy.  He thanked the volunteers for their hard work.  He really is a nice guy.  He made a few jokes to the crowd and was good spirited about how when he left, it was Spring in Whistler and how when he came back, it was Winter.

The next to address the crowd was IPC President, Sir Philip Craven.  He talked about the monument.  The Truce monument was inspired by the raven who is a very powerful figure in First Nations Culture.  It represents inspiration and equality and the artist, Corrine Hunt, captured that in the monument itself.

Patrick Anderson is not only Mayor of the Whistler Paralympic Athletes Village, but also a Wheelchari Basket Ball Champion.  He spoke of how sports can bring out both the best and the worst in people, but it's all about the passion you put into the game.  He was truly inspiring to listen too.

Though all the speeches were short, they were to the point and very inspirational.  I cam out of it enlightened.  Everyone signed the monument and posed for pictures with it.

There was an opportunity to interview people and I was prepared to interview JOhn Furlong.  I was excited.  There was a line up to interview him and he didn't get to everyone.  I followed him to the check out to see if I could ask a question.  I was a foot away from him when his phone rang.  I guess I have to be a little more pushy, because when he finished up the phone conversation, his personal assistant came and told him his shuttle was here.  I was left standing there, notebook and pen in hand.  NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!  I guess between his phone and his personal assistant, Mr. Furlong is a busy guy.  I feel so bad that I lost the chance!  But it was all a great learning experience.  I feel very honoured to have done it and experienced this momentous event.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you were able to go! Sorry you didn't get to talk to the big guy :}