We're Going To The 2010 Winter Olympics!

Trip Start Feb 14, 2010
Trip End Feb 19, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In late 2008, the Vancouver Olympic Committee and the US distributor of tickets started a lottery system for releasing tickets.  By now, Heather and I were parents, and the time and money to commit to going to the Olympics was just not realistic.  We figured that we'd just let this one slide by too.

Then spring came, and while driving home from work one day, Heather heard on the radio that some more tickets were going to be released for the Games later that week.  Through a turn of luck, I'd been getting some special pay at work for a few months which I'd never spent - so now there was a sort of "cash reserve" on hand. For years, we had also been stocking away money in a travel fund.  After a quick conversation, and some math, we decided to give it a try. We just kept telling ourselves, "This is a once in a lifetime experience."  After a couple of late nights on the internet, figuring out our vacation calendar, and looking at the competition calendar, we were ready to go.  We would bathe ourselves and the girls in the pomp, circumstance, tradition, and joy of the Olympics - perhaps we'd even get a taste of "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" too.

Tickets went on sale at noon on a Thursday.  I ran home from work just to make the purchase.  I sat at the computer, about 20 minutes late, to find that all of our preferred events were sold out, and all I managed to scrounge up were tickets for a Finland-Belarus men's hockey game.  And then the system crashed.  It was over.  Done.  I was heart-broken, crushed, and furious.  There wasn't much sleep to be had that night.  We finally gave up on our "dream" to see the Olympics. 

But a funny thing happened on Friday night.  The ticket vendor sent us an e-mail apologizing for the system crash, and letting me know that if we wanted our hockey tickets, we had 72 hours to pay for them or else they would be re-released to the public.  Realizing that thousands of other folks probably got similar messages, Heather and I got back on the ticket website and hit pay dirt!  We snapped up tickets to women's hockey (US vs. Russia) and men's curling (including the US, Canadian and Norwegian teams).  Combined with our men's hockey tickets, we now had reason enough to make our trip to the Olympics!!!  A couple of days later, at the end of the designated 72-hour period, we scooped up tickets for a full day of women's half-pipe snowboarding - at Cypress Mountain, just outside of the city. 

Lodging was another story - though not nearly as anxiety-riddled as getting the tickets was.  From June through October, we looked for a hotel in Vancouver and the suburbs.  A couple of reservations were made....and cancelled.  Finally, through Heather's good friend Tracey, we connected with a friendly resident of Vancouver (Catharine) who agreed to rent her condo to us for 5 days and 4 nights - right across the street from the Olympic Village.  Later on, Catharine even invited us to come up a day early at no charge. In addition, she has provided a steady stream of information to us on "what's happening" in Vancouver during our stay - from outdoor ice skating, a zip line through the city, cultural festivals, concerts, etc.

Our Olympic vacation was turning in to reality, but Heather and I still wanted more.  We wanted to cap off our stay with figure skating tickets.  In the spring, we'd passed on some ice dancing tickets because we didn't want the added expense - and even without skating tickets, we still counted ourselves as the most fortunate people on Earth anyway.  But after several months of rumination (and saving birthday/Christmas money), we got one last chance to grab them on the re-sale market through the Olympic Committee - and we did that in January.  That part is a secret - and Kaelise and Layla have no idea that on Valentine's Day, just a few hours after they leave the US for the first time in their lives, they will be sitting in the Pacific Coliseum watching the pairs short program as they start to catalog their own lifetime Olympic memories.

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Linda Austin on

HAve a great trip! We will be thinking of you!

Tracey on

Okay, now I know why you guys hung up on me so fast when we were on the phone that night! Love it!! You are probably there right now having a blast. Can't wait to hear all about it.

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