Monday, March 08, 2010

paralympic blog, day 1

Well, I'm here. I mean, we're here. The Games are here.

I'm pretty comfortably settled into the Whistler Paralympic Village, watching old Dylan clips on YouTube with my roommate Nick and getting ready to freeski a bit tomorrow on super-G skis.

This morning Nick and I took a bus up the Whistler Creekside base to retrieve a few things from our ski bags, which had been delivered to the ski preparation area. Each team has a wax cabin in the Creekside parking garage, and the U.S. room is huge, with plenty of room for our four technicians to do their job and even maintain a small office. After getting home we spent the day traipsing around the Village and getting the lay of the land. There's a big old dining tent with much better food than we had at Sestriere in '06, and many athlete lounges filled with TVs, video games, pool tables and the like. Pretty much everything an athlete needs is here, within a quarter-mile radius: medical attention, massage, fitness facilities, even meditation and prayer rooms. All our needs are attended to by a phalanx of U.S. Paralympic Team staffers and an army of "Smurfs," as the blue-jacketed Vancouver 2010 volunteers call themselves. These people come from all over the world and spend their own money to get here, just to serve us food, drive us around, inspect our credentials, answer our questions, and do the million other things that need doing around here. It's an impressive sight and a pretty well-oiled machine.

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