Once you choose hope, anything's possible.
Trip Start Feb 14, 2010
12Trip End Feb 21, 2010
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The diner we went to before the Men's FS, Tom and Jerry's, was overflowing with people who has attended the practices at the Coliseum. Understandably, the service was rather slow and it took a while to have our orders taken. It seemed to have upset a few people in the restaurant but yet somehow I felt really calm and relaxed and all the drama has been flying past me. No idea where that sense of calm came from... Skating competition of this magnitude and I in one sentence with calm? That just doesn't add up!
On the way to the arena I considered selling my level C ticket that I had originally gotten through the VANOC lottery and getting a better one from the scalper. In the end, I thought that my getting both SP and LP in a random draw back in the fall of 2008 (when everything was going downhill) was such a good sign that I should just stick with what I had. If I was supposed to hang out with the Skate Gods somewhere in the rafters, so be it.
Finally in my seat, I was ready for the competition to begin. As much as I was trying to stay in the moment and enjoy the skating, it was not that easy as the level of the lower ranked competitors was nowhere near as good as in the SP.
Once again, I'll spare you the details as you must have all watched it and know exactly how the things were unfolding that night.
Uncharacteristically, I was still relatively Zen throughout the most of the event, including the penultimate group that included Canada's sweetheart, Patrick Chan. Patrick did well but I'm guessing not as good as he, his team and all of the country had hoped. The score, however, was really, really high. That's when I started feeling nervous for the first time. Soon after, the final group took the ice for their warm-up an the crowd was going crazy. I've never experienced an atmosphere like that before and I'm definitely not new to skating events at the highest level. There's just that special 'something' about the Olympics.
The level of my nervousness went through the roof half way through the warm-up as Evan kept popping to singles all the jumps he tried. All! And he was first to skate... In my attempt to distract myself somehow I called up my friend in New York who I knew would be watching the event on TV. "I don't think I've ever been this nervous in my life. Please tell me something smart" was how I started the conversation. I don't even remember what she answered exactly other than "breathe" and "he'll be fine". Then we had to hang up as the warm-up was over and Evan was getting the last words of advice from Frank Carroll, his coach.
When he took the centre ice and hit his opening pose he was very tense, it was so easy to tell. He's one of the people who don't really pull off the poker face well, his eyes are really easy to read... But being the competitor he is, it was obvious that he would not just fade away. Once the music started, he really got into it and nailed the element, after element, after element. As much as the movement was less free than in the SP or the morning practice, it was still sharp and edgy. Other than a minor wobble on the second 3A, he was foot perfect. The spins are also worth mentioning... So well skated under so much pressure. But with Evan, you just can't expect anything else. He totally thrives under pressure and that night in Vancouver was no exception. What happened next? It's all a haze in my memory but I do remember fist pumps all over the place from him and some major jumping and screaming from me to the endless entertainment of my seatmates. And then text messages kept pouring in... Called my friend in NYC again and first thing we did was scream! Haha! Then she checked the slow-mo reply of the second 3A on TV and it was rotated! We knew the score would be high as everything he did was of such excellent quality. That was the performance of 'Scheherazade' I kept waiting for all season and to think it happened at the Olympics of all places - unreal!
Frankly, I don't really remember in great detail much of what followed but overall the level of the last group was amazing. I think the 6 men only had 2 falls between all of them (one on a quad attempt, and one on a 3A). Somehow I don't even remember the moment when it was sure Evan would medal. I guess I was just unable to think at all! Well, not until after Evgeni Plushenko skated, apparently as then I realized he might have not done enough. And usually, I'm a total fatalist who screams "Oh no, XY is going to beat Evan for sure" before anybody else does! The wait for Evgeni's marks for surprisingly short. I don't even recall hearing the scores, just the roar of the crowd. Then I looked at the jumbotron and saw "2" by his name. That's when my mind went completely blank as I was running to the other end of arena where all my friends were. When I got there there were screams and hugs all over the place and my phone wouldn't stop ringing. Got on the phone with my NY friend again and we reminisced about how I had not been to happy about Plushenko's return to competition at the beginning of the season and how she had told me back then that I would change my mind in February. Turned out she was right!
We stayed on the phone throughout the medal ceremony. Speaking of which, it was so surreal to hear Evan introduced as the Gold Medalist and Olympic Champion. I must confess to losing it completely at some point and sobbing a la Nobunari Oda after a good skate. ;) I'm not a big crybaby in general and normally only cry when I'm upset and never when I'm happy, so that was definitely strange... And I don't think I had ever cried in public prior to that night, so that's another first.
From the arena we went straight to Gastown where our celebrations were scheduled at the charming Water St. Cafe that we discovered last year. The place was beautiful, the food fantastic and the atmosphere even better. The celebrations included plenty of smiles, hugs, laughter, tears and even more champagne and cheesecake!
The night wrapped up at the the Olympic cauldron in the middle of the night and that only added to the magic and helped has realize we really were in Vancouver, at THE Olympics. At the same time, we were well aware of the fact it would take days if not weeks to process the fact
Four weeks later, I'm still blabbing, apparently. Never planned on this blog entry turning out so sappy. I do apologize for that.