Category Archives: Salt Lake City 2002

Torino – February 25 – Going out with a bang, and the birth of Falcons Security

Our final full day in Torino started off innocently enough…chilling in Canada House, and reflecting on a tremendously successful winter games for Canada. Then things changed.

We started hearing talk about a party going down that evening for the curlers. The men had won the gold the evening before, while the women won the bronze a couple of days earlier. The party was going to take place at BC House – a giant log home built in British Columbia that was transported and assembled in downtown Torino.

A large group from Canada House, including the curlers and their families, was going to take the 10 minute walk through the streets of Torino over to BC House for the party. One of the curler’s mom looked at us in our 1920 Winnipeg Falcons jerseys, and asked us if could escort the ladies over to BC House through the streets of downtown Torino. We took on the task, partied the night away with the victorious curlers, and forever became “Falcons Security”.

The birth of weaseling – short track speed skating at the Salt Lake City Olympics

Salt Lake City – M 1500 &  W 3000 relay short track speed skating

Weaseling has happened before. I suspect since the dawn of time, weasels have honed their craft. We had just never witnessed it on ice.

At our first Olympic games, we decided to take in a different sport. We had already attended a couple of men’s hockey games, so in an attempt to mix things up, we checked out short track speed skating. We were blown away.

To the uninitiated, short track speed skating is quite the spectacle. It’s a whirlwind of speed, strategy, physics-defying balance, and perhaps above all – weaseling.

What we learned is that it’s not quite enough to merely be a very fast skater, you also need to be able to cut off your opponent, while getting away with it. Apparently there are rules forbidding blatant impeding (or “tracking”) of your fellow competitors, so the athletes have to be subtle about it.

Our first-ever short track speed skating event was a memorable bit of history. In the men’s 1500 m final, South Korean Kim Dong-Sung appeared to win over young rival Apolo Anton Ohno. But as Dong-Sung was celebrating on the ice waving a South Korean flag, the judges ruled that he illegally obstructed Ohno during a pass attempt, and thus was disqualified. The hometown crowd went wild as Ohno’s silver was upgraded to gold, and the birth of weaseling was complete.

It helped that we were seated next to a Canadian short track speed skater (and 4 time Olympic medallist), Tania Vicent. Tania was the 5th member of the 3000 m relay team. She had already helped the team during the semi-final several days earlier, and was now cheering on her teammates during the final. She gave us valuable viewing tips that we recite regularly, sounding like short track experts. Thank you Tania!

valley-view-motel-tooele

The Valley View Motel – Tooele, Utah

When you decide at the last minute to head to a major sporting event, you pretty much abandon all hope that you’ll find good accommodations. Usually finding merely “ok” or “structurally-sound-and-kinda-clean” accommodations would be a minor miracle. Our miracle did not get answered.

Instead we got the Valley View Motel in Tooele, Utah. Tooele is a small community on the outskirts of Salt Lake City. The regular rate at the Valley View Motel was $29/night, if that’s any indication as to the level of quality we’re dealing with. (Our Olympic rate was $150/night, but that’s not the point.)

The manager was friendly, and he did happily agree to keep our Gino’s East pizza delivery (direct from Chicago) on ice until we returned from the days events.

For future Olympiads we step up the accommodation game considerably, from the spectacular Via Po apartment in Torino, the Pan Pacific in Whistler, and the cruise ship in Sochi. But for the 4 Falcons, our Olympic Odyssey started at the Valley View Motel in Tooele.