Saturday, February 20, 2010

"A beautiful, beautiful, night."

Day 9

The Orpheum. For Vancouverites, this gilded building is well known as one of the finest concert venues around town. It is intimate, elegant, and has hosted symphonies and rockstars in near-equal numbers. Last night, Montreal's popular Stars and their special guests Hey Rosetta!, paid a visit, as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

Hey Rosetta! brought the house to a standing ovation that roared on for minutes after they exited the stage, guitars in hand, the echoes of their song A Thousand Suns still rebounding thank-yous off the Orpheum's walls. Stars entered to more thunderous applause, throwing white roses into the audience throughout their stunning performance, and featuring several new songs from an upcoming album.

If encountering these bands from the steats in the Orpheum is stunning, however, the experience from backstage is infinitely more so.

After pulling a couple strings, Christina Adams, VANOC's Manager of Education Programs and frequent Students Live chaperone, lead us outside, around a corner, and backstage through a heavily guarded door. There, giddy with excitement, we practically skipped through a narrow hallway and to the dressing rooms, brainstorming questions along the way.

In the dim light of Hey Rosetta!'s dressing room, we suddenly found ourselves chatting with Amy Millan, singer and guitarist of Stars and Tim Baker, lead singer of Hey Rosetta!. After introductions and a reenactment of being drunkenly rejected from the Dutch House, Millan excused herself, retreating to her own dressing room, and Baker led us into the quieter area at the back of the room for an interview.

Sitting on a little wooden chair, he described his awe at The Orpheum."This building, it seems like it could maybe only exist somewhere like Vancouver." He mused, gesturing around him."I didn't even know that these kind of places existed."

"The whole town is a buzz." He continued, describing the atmosphere in the theatre and the Cultural Olympiad. "There's so much more going on than you might imagine."

We asked him how he thought Canadian music stands up on an international level, and he praised what Canada has to offer. "You know, we've toured all across Canada, and most of my favourite bands are ones we've toured with." The proof of that was in his obvious admiration for the night's headlining act.

Reflecting on the evening, Tim smiled."It was a beautiful, beautiful night."

I think it's safe to say that everybody else at the Orpheum agreed.

Photos and Videos from February 19th

Day 9

Photo and video highlights from yesterday!

The Stanley Cup
Getting interviewed by CBC's Theresa Lalonde!
Watch for Student's Live on CBC this Monday
between 6:00 and 6:30

Crowds at Waterfront

The Czech and Latvian Men prepare to play

Czech Republic vs. Latvia

Some Latvian fans

Chatting with Czech Snowboarder, Michal Novotny at the hockey game

Friday, February 19, 2010

Part of our Culture

Day 8

They call it Canada's National Passtime. For many, it is a religion, with rituals as strictly abided as any other belief system - a loonie beneath the ice surface, white towels to wave overhead. With the Olympic Games being played out on home ice, Canada's fanatacism for hockey is reaching new heights, and according to many, is overshadowing the true spirit of The Games.

Exacly one week ago, Nancy Greene Raine, a former olympic medallist herself, made public statements about how Canada's love for hockey overlooks the talented athletes involved in other sports. "There is no doubt in my mind a lot of great Canadian male amateur athletes, Olympic athletes, what they've done has not been properly recognized because they are not hockey players. That is something you have to live with as a Canadian." She says.

Also shocking - she appears to be right. A recent survey found that more Canadians would like Canada to win a gold medal in Men's Hockey than come first in overall medal standings.

This morning, The Stanley Cup made an appearance at the Robson Media center, accompanied by hockey legend Peter Stastny. The former player was adament in his response to the critisism on his sport's popularity.

As this morning's press conference came to a close, Stastny interrupted the moderator to make one final statement. "About that final are Canadians. Hockey is part of your culture. You should be proud."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Enthusiasm Abounds at Women's Hockey

Day 7
The fans were more than into the game tonight at Women's Hockey, Russia vs. China. Check out some of the characters we met!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Des Réponses de Maelle Ricker

Jour 6

Aujourd'hui, Maelle Ricker est une vedette du sport. Elle fait de la planche à neige, et elle est la premiére fille canadienne à gagner une médaille d'or au Canada. Cet matin, elle a parlé avec des journalists - en anglais et français. Ici sont des vidéos.

Maelle Ricker Press Conference

Day 6
In the past twenty four hours Maelle Ricker has become a veritable superstar. Yesterday, she won Canada's second gold medal of the Games - becoming both the first Canadian woman and the first British Columbian to win a gold on home turf. Since then, she's faced non-stop flashing cameras, inquiring journalists, and cheering citizens. At 12:15 today, she stopped by The Robson Square Media Center, and addressed the unaccredited press.

Genny Nugent ( and I had the chance to ask her a couple questions - definitely the chance of a lifetime.
To start off, we mentioned Ricker's reputation for being fast out of the gates, and asked her how it feels to be standing there, and what runs through her mind as she waits for the gates to open. She spoke about the anticipation and focus, how she runs through the course one final time in her mind, while croushing low, preparing to spring forward.

Secondly, we asked her how she used to balance her sport and her obligations as a student, back when she was in highschool like us. She spoke, first, about the support of her teachers and family, the remainder of her answer is in the video below.

Having the opportunity to speak to a national hero was truly amazing. In fact, I'm still a little shaky as I type this out. I'd like to put out a huge congratulation to Maelle Ricker, and also a huge thanks for the positive example she's setting for Canadians, expecially young girls across the country.
To end off the blog, I've included a few more photos and videos from the conference. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Men's Curling

Day 5

Another early morning today, this time, waking up for Men's Curling at The Vancouver Olympic Center. The crowd, while still buzzing, was more of a quiet hum in comparison to fans on Sunday. Obviously, Curling caters to a different crowd. There were lots of families and people to talk to however.

One interesting story came from a couple from Minnesota, Tom and Robin. For them, curling is a family event that spans generations. In fact, Tom once curled with the father of a man currently on the US National Team. Tom and Robin's children were back home, attending school in Minnesota, and, of course, curling.

Apparently, Tom and Robin aren't the only two turning curling into a family event. We also spoke with Kristen and Rachel about the importance of experiencing sport together.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Spirit Of Uganda

Day 4

I'll be honest. Before my Sharing The Dream and Students Live experiences, I thought The Olympic Games were all sport. Over the past few months, however, I have been continually proven wrong. The Olympic Games are about culture, just as much as they are about sport. Tonight was yet another event to stress this point.

As part of the Cultural Olympiad, a series of plays, concerts, and art exhibits that accompany The Olympic and Paralympic Games, The Spirit Of Uganda brings a group of Ugandan youth, many who have been orphaned by AIDS, to share their culture through song and dance.

Elizabeth Boey (right) and me (left), chatting with Brian,
a member of Spirit of Uganda and grade 12 student.

The show was inspiring and uplifting. What astounded me the most was that despite tragic pasts, the youth radiated such joy throughout their performance. As they struck out heavy rhythms on the drums and swished their hips and sang into the Orpheum, smiles lit the faces of both performers and audience members.

Featuring a number of dances from the various regions of Uganda, the group gave a "tour" of their home country, from melancholy melodies of the war torn north, to a jubilant finale, written to save a king from drunken embarassment. What's more astounding, after performing the youth gave their names and grades - ranging from grade 3 to 12, and all of them maintain their studies while on the road.

For me, it was a night to remember, as I was transported around the beautiful African country, enjoying the cultural exchange The Games have made possible, and learning that the true spirit of Uganda, is a joyful one indeed.

An interview with Brian

Meet The Crowd At The Mens' Biathalon 10km Sprint!

Day 3

Hey, this is Richelle, and...

This is Donald...

This is Sebastien (left) and his co-worker. They are both Francophone radio-journalists, reporting on the games through a special program for youth between the ages of 18 and 25. Sebastien is from Montreal and his friend is from Ontario. They are excited for Men's Hockey and invite everybody to visit the Francophone Village on Granville Island.

This is a group of German youth, who were selected to travel all the way to Canada because each of them is a passionate winter-sport athlete.

These are Carl, Douglas, and Christian...