Home » Featured (page 8)

Featured

Sochi Day 8 – Speed Skating Day!

Iceberg Skating Palace

It was team pursuit speed skating day!

I went to the Olympic Park early and met up with some other Canadians to grab a couple of drinks (ok, ok, beers…) in the sun before our day’s events. As we sat on our bench, people watching, probably one out of every three Russians walking by either wanted a photo with us or wanted to trade stuff for our Canada gear! We probably posed for about 20 photos that day!

Canadian Beauties!

This super cute Russian girl came up and asked me if she could wear my Canada gear for a photo, so I handed over my flag, toque and mittens, and she ROCKED it! You’d never know that she wasn’t Canadian!

Russian girl in Canada gear

Team Pursuit Speed Skating

When the time came, I headed into the Adler Skating Arena for the speed skating team pursuit event. The short track was so amazing earlier in the week so I was looking forward to watching a team pursuit event. The speed was insane as I watched both the men’s and women’s events. I still cannot believe the size of the athletes’ legs! Wow!

Sadly, Canada didn’t qualify for the finals, so that was a bit disappointing. I was lucky to have had the opportunity to photography the same team when they won gold in the same event at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

Inside the Iceberg Skating Palace

Team Canada - Team Pursuit Speed Skating Sochi 2014

Team Canada

Team Canada - Team Pursuit Speed Skating Sochi 2014

Team Canada

Team Russia - Team Pursuit Speed Skating Sochi 2014

Team Russia

Team Netherlands - Team Pursuit Speed Skating Sochi 2014

Team Netherlands

After the event was over, I headed toward the Bolshoy Arena to see if I could find a decently priced ticket for the men’s semi-final hockey game. Canada was playing the USA. I didn’t have any luck, so I went to find some food and again, I ran into a group of Canadians in the lineup. This group was a bit different though, in that they had been in Russia working on the Games for over six months already! I chatted with them about their experiences and what it was like to live in Russia and every one of them was looking forward to going home at the end of the month.

Men’s 5000m Relay

After I finished eating, I headed back to the Bolshoy for one last kick at trying to get a ticket to the game and one of that group of Canadians ran after me to give me a ticket to the short track relay event that was about to start. I tried to give him money for it (face value was at $200), but he insisted I just take it and go enjoy myself! Again, I was impressed by how amazingly generous people can be!

When I arrived, the event had already begun. This was a huge event for the Russians and the cheering in the Iceberg Skating Palace was deafening! The relay event was CRAZY! There were so many skaters on the ice all at once, some racing and some circling on the inside getting into position for their turn in the relay. It was a wonder that none of them ran into each other!

Russia wins Gold in the 5000m relay at Sochi 2014

Russia wins GOLD!

USA wins Silver in the 5000m relay at Sochi 2014

USA wins Silver!

China wins bronze in the 5000m relay at Sochi 2014

China wins Bronze!

 

The final result of the men’s 5000 meter relay was Russia – Gold, the USA – Silver, and China – Bronze. It was an unbelievable sight and the cheering and support from the crowd was unmatched to anything I had seen at the Games yet! It was absolutely awesome! Just. AWESOME!

A Perfect End to a Perfect Day

I was pumped after all that fan energy at the men’s 5000m relay event! The Canada vs USA men’s hockey game wasn’t quite over so I sweet talked my way past the bouncer at the House of Switzerland (sweet talking bouncers is much easier to do when you are traveling alone) to watch the last 10 minutes of the game. As we all know, Canada WON! and the Swiss House EXPLODED because as usual, it was FULL of Canadians! It was a perfect end to another FANTASTIC day!

Have you ever watched either team pursuit or team relay speed skating? When and where? 

 

New Website! #BOOM!

Last weekend was all work and no play as I spent Saturday and Sunday revamping my website!

I loved my old design but it was outdated and it has been due for an upgrade for quite some time. There are still a few glitches that need fixing (ie. the Facebook counter isn’t working, arg! And that there are two ‘read more’ links on the home page posts?), and some new graphics that I’m having created for a new logo and header image, but I’m pretty happy with the site overall.

New Website Design

Social Media Optimized

One of the main changes is that the new theme is better optimized for social media (which will come in very handy when I get hired to go to Tobago this summer). All my social profile links are included in the top navigation bar and sidebar (please click to follow!), and there is a social counter widget included in the sidebar as well to make my main social profiles more visible.

New Photography Gallery

My previous site had the photo gallery pulling from Flickr and I was not a huge fan of the way that displayed, so now I’ve included photo galleries with lightboxes right on the site. I still have a ton of photo content to add to the gallery, but there are some beginnings there with photos from my recent travels to Costa Rica, Russia, the Netherlands and of course Vancouver where I lived for over 10 years.

Functionality

There is now much more ease in integrating video, audio and other media to my pages and posts and I’m looking forward to playing around with some of these in upcoming posts. I still have so much content from my past travels that I need to tell you all about, including a bunch of videos that will make my posts so much more fun and interesting!

E-Commerce Shop

This is the part that I am most excited about! I’m going to finally start selling my photos online! I’m still looking for a good service to use for printing and shipping, I would love to hear any suggestions in the comments below, but I can’t wait to get a store up and running! It’s been a dream of mine for a long long time! Time to make it REAL!

What Do You Think?

So I invite you to have a wander around the site and let me know what you think. I always love to get feedback if it means I can improve on something, so bring it on! Please leave your comments below.

All personal and client website themes purchased from ThemeForest.net and built on WordPress.

 

I’m Going to Tobago!

Well… not just yet… but with your help, we can make it happen!

The first step is complete: Application for #60Days in Paradise submitted!!

#TobaGOtime

The Job

If (when!!) I get hired, my job will be to go to the island of Tobago, stay in beautiful hotels, eat fancy food (and sample tasty drinks), do all kinds of awesome activities, learn about the culture, meet the locals, take LOTS of photos and videos of all of it, and then tell you guys (and the rest of Canada) all about it! Oh, and did I mention it would be all expenses paid PLUS salary?! (Whaaaaat?!!!)

I fully agree with my wonderful friend Dave who said I’m “tailor made for this gig!”

So please peruse my application and add your recommendation at the bottom if you think I have what it takes to get this job done!

Where is Tobago?

Tobago is one of the two main islands that make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It is located in the southern Caribbean Sea just outside the hurricane belt. The island lies northeast of Trinidad and southeast of Granada, off the southern coast of Venezuela.

Tobago on Google Maps

What Will I do in Tobago?

With a rich history and a ton of activities and eco-tourism options, there is something for everyone on this beautiful tropical paradise and I want to do it ALL!

  • Scuba Diving, Sailing, Surfing, Wake Boarding, Fishing
  • Hiking, Bird Watching, & Eco-Tourism including one of the Oldest Protected Rainforests in the world
  • Golf, Beaches, Pools & Spas
  • Great Food and Tasty Cocktails (mmm!)
  • Local Art and Music, Jazz Festivals and Local Art

And much much more!  

Tobago Beach

I’ll need your vote between April 21st and May 16th

The application process closes April 4th. A group of travel professionals will then choose the top 10 applicants and then the voting process happens between April 21st and May 16th. Please keep your clicketty/tappetty finger ready to submit your vote! (It’s still unclear if it will be a one-time or daily voting process, but either way I will need YOUR HELP to spread the word.)

So stay tuned and please share with everyone you know (!!) cuz I know we are all imagining ourselves on a tropical beach as we wait for our (short) Canadian summer to arrive. I have selflessly volunteered because one of us should really go do it so that the rest can live vicariously… Hehehe! ; )

Follow Me so you don’t miss a moment of the action:

Facebook – http://facebook.com/mariskarichtersphotography
Twitter – http://twitter.com/mariskar
Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/mariskar
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/+MariskaRichters
Tumblr – http://mariskar.tumblr.com
Flickr – http://www.flickr.com/photos/mariskar
Youtube – http://www.youtube.com/mariskarichters
FourSquare – http://www.foursquare.com/mariskar
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/mariskar/
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariskarichters
Vine – https://vine.co/mariskar

Thank you!

Sending big love and gratitude to you all in advance for your vote and support!

With your help I can get to Tobago and share the adventure with Canada and the world! It all starts when you leave your recommendation here!

It’s #TobaGOtime!

 

Bad Luck Comes in Threes (and then you drink some tea)

Bad Luck Comes in Threes After an incredible month of travel and amazing experiences I guess I was due for a little string of bad luck. They say bad luck comes in threes, so fingers crossed that I’ve come to the end of this crazy streak! 1. Last week my hair dryer exploded. (It scared the begeezus out of me!) It sucked but was not too big of a big deal. 2. Last night my MacBook Pro had a disagreement with my wine glass. It didn’t end well. I thought it was going to be the most expensive half glass of wine ever, but thankfully after MacPro sobered up, she seems to be working fine today. (Altho, her fan is blowing out some serious hangover breath…) Lesson Learned? — Use only stemless wine glasses when working late-night with wine. So after the computer incident last night I was thinking to myself that with the way things were going, the 3rd piece of bad luck was going to be a doozy…

(Warning: this following may be disturbing to some readers.)

3. I was driving home today when the battery light came on and an “Alternator Workshop!” message flashed up in the dash. (I thought it was related to my having left the lights on earlier — oops! — while I attended the CIBC Welcome Home event for Paralympian Braydon Luscombe.) As I drove, I lost power steering, the battery light continued to blink at me and the beeping became more and more frequent. When I got home and we popped the hood to check it out, we found something we were NOT expecting. A broken alternator belt and … … wait for it…. An obliterated RAT splattered all over the hood and motor!

** EWWW!!!! **

Oh, and it got worse! There were 3 little unborn baby rats (thankfully all in one piece,) who had had a very harsh and premature start and end to their lives. : ( We called the mechanic, ordered a new belt.

Mechanic: “Will you be installing it yourself?” Answer: “Um. No. Please send a tow truck.”

VW Passat with hood open VW Passat being towed

I’ve earned a cup of tea…

After that mess was over, I thought I earned a nice warm cup of Don’t Worry Be Happy tea (chamomile, peppermint and licorice root) from Steeped Tea With Jenn to celebrate the end of my Bad Luck Trifecta!

Steeped Tea With Jenn and a wool tea cozy

(Ok… so that may have been a kind of an weird plug for my friend Jenn’s tea business, but it’s freakin’ delicious tea! Get in touch with her to order some!)

Have you ever had a streak of bad luck? Did it come in threes? Please comment below.

 

CIBC’s Welcome Home to Paralympic Athlete Braydon Luscombe

This morning I was invited to attend CIBC’s Welcome Home event for local Paralympian, Braydon Luscombe at the bank’s Duncan branch.

Mariska Richters and Braydon Luscombe

Braydon, a 21-year-old para-alpine skier, began para-skiing at age six at the Mount Washington Alpine Resort in BC, as way to help him overcome his impairment. He had his right leg amputated after contracting necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) as a child and competes in the standing category.

I had a chance to chat with Braydon and it was interesting to hear about his Sochi Paralympic experience. Highlights included competing with his team and the incredible support from his family and Canadian fans. For those of you who may have been wondering, the athletes CAN hear you cheering from the gates at the top of the hill before they begin their races! So next time you’re at an alpine competition event, CHEER LOUD!!

Braydon Luscombe

Braydon’s lowlights were mostly snow related. He said it was either heavy and slushy or hard and icy, which made it difficult for the “one-leggers” as he called himself and his team mates. A lesser lowlight was that his practice and  racing schedules were so busy that he did not have time to attend any other Paralympic events. He said he would have to plan that a bit better next time.

Since being home, Braydon has chopped off his mullet and says he has a full appreciation for what us ladies need to do to maintain our lovely locks. He plans to move to Victoria, BC to be closer to an international airport (as he travels about 12 times a year to train and compete), his training facilities, and his girlfriend. He is still deciding on his summer training plans, but he will either be in Victoria or Whistler to train for next season’s competitions.

Braydon competed in six events in Sochi, you’ll find his race results here. He was presented with CIBC’s Welcome Home banner and a Sochi 2014 Paralympics gold coin at the event.  You can follow his ongoing journey via Twitter at @OneLeggedHustla (love the handle!)

Congratulations Braydon!

Braydon Luscombe Braydon Luscombe

My Face Was On the MegaFon Pavilion!

One of the coolest sponsor displays at Sochi 2014 had to be MegaFon Faces on the jumbotron in the Olympic park. The MegaFon jumbotron wasn’t just ANY jumbotron though…

Remember those Pinart things where you put your hand in to depress the pins so it takes the shape of your hand (or whatever other body part or object you put in there)? So the MegaFon jumbotron was more like jumbo-Pinart! So when a friend asked me is I wanted to go meet the MegaFon representative and have my face on the thing, of course I said yes! (cuz seriously, that’s Awesome!)

MegaFon Pinart Jumbotron

So we were invited upstairs to the VIP area at the MegaFon pavillion, where we were offered champagne (and coffee, but who drinks coffee when there’s champagne??) while we sat on their cushy couches and gave them our info before stepping into the photobooth to have our photos taken for the jumbo-Pinart.

When we were all done, they gave us each a Sochi 2014 branded Pinart souvenir (a perfect gift for my 5-year-old nephew!) and then we had to wait a couple of hours before it would show up on the jumbotron, and they said would text us when it did.

So here is what it looked like (skip to 0:25 to see my face start showing up):

So ya… I thought that was pretty cool!

 

 

Holland Heineken House 2014

Holland Heineken House 2014As a Dutch Canadian, the Holland Heineken House was a must see for me. Before coming to Russia I had been in contacted the Holland House press center and was granted a press pass, so I went to check it out!

I knew that it was located in the Azimut Hotel, but it was a bit confusing to find and was about a 20 minute walk from the entrance to the Olympic Park. I knew I was on the right track when I started seeing tulips!

When I arrived, I passed through security and met with their corporate relations representative who toured me around the house telling me all about the celebrations and the success of the Dutch athletes.

One crazy story was that their “bitterballen” (traditional Dutch croquette appetizer) were restricted  from entering Russia in customs, so they brought in the Master Croquettemaker from Holland instead. He produced and rolled hundreds of these little balls everyday for the Heineken House Cafe!

Holland Heineken House is by reputation one of the best places to celebrate at the Olympics, and Sochi was no exception. These photos tell that story pretty well!

(Gallery photos courtesy of the Heineken.)

Men’s Ski Cross and Ladies’ Halfpipe Skiing

It was another gorgeous sunny morning in Sochi and although I had lost my voice, I was finally starting to feel a bit better from that nasty flu.  Day 7 was my last day in the mountains for men’s ski cross and ladies half-pipe skiing.

There was a pretty big Canadian presence at the men’s ski cross event and after a week of events I was starting to know and recognize many of the Canadian fans. Canada made it to the big final along with three French competitors, but sadly came in 4th. The three Frenchmen took all three medals!

Men's Ski CrossCanadian Fans at Men's Ski Cross

Men's Ski Cross French Medalists

 We headed to Austria House next where we met a crazy crew of Americans who pumped us full of beer and vodka… (Thanks for the good times Boys!)

Austria House with Crazy Americans

Austria House with Crazy Americans

Austria House with Crazy Americans

 After I was fed and ‘watered’ I went up the mountain again where the ladies’ half-pipe event was making its Olympic debut. There were several injuries during the evening, but it was amazing to watch these women compete! Awesome!

Olympics 2014 - Ladies Ski Cross Olympics 2014 - Ladies Ski Cross Olympics 2014 - Ladies Ski Cross

Olympics 2014 - Ladies Ski Cross Olympics 2014 - Ladies Ski Cross

Before the finals of the event, Sochi volunteers skiied down the halfpipe in the shape of a heart to honour Sarah Burke’s memory. Sarah Burke was a pioneer in the halfpipe event and won four X-Games titles before she suddenly died in early 2012 due to a skiing accident. It was nice to see her remembered at the ladies halfpipe Olympic debut event.

Sochi 2014 - Sarah Burke Tribute

The final results of the event: USA – Gold, France – Silver, Japan – Bronze.

Men’s Quarterfinal Hockey: Canada vs Latvia

Bolshoy Arena

 

Canadians were buzzing with anticipation as they entered the Bolshoy for the Canada vs Latvia quarterfinal hockey.

It’s always interesting walking into an event solo, not knowing who you will be sitting with or the energy of those around you. I was pleasantly surprised and excited to find that my seat was beside these guys! Canadian superfans always make the experience that much more awesome.

Canada vs Latvia with the Helmet Heads

There were no alcohol sales inside the official Olympic venues, but these guys didn’t let that stop them! Cuz seriously, how can you be at a Canadian at a hockey and not have a beer in your hand? There is something very wrong about that scenario. So these superfans each came in with a backpack full of beer and generously shared them around to fellow Canadians (ie. me!)

There was plenty of Olympic Spirit to be found and you can see from this photographic summary:

 

20140324-102037.jpg

Canada vs Latvia Quarterfinal day6_hockey-7  day6_hockey-5 day6_hockey-4

 

Canadian Fan in a Crosby Jerseyday6_hockey-8

day6_hockey-6

Canada won over Latvia with a score of 2 – 1, the two goals were scored by Patrick Sharp and Shea Weber. You can find more stats and details from the game here.

After the game we were once again approached by Russian after Russian for photos. This group included a couple that I had been sitting beside earlier in the day for the Russia vs Finland game. They were super excited to run into me again, so of course wanted a photo.

20140324-102225.jpg

I LOVED this super cute mini fan that we found on our way to the House of Switzerland to celebrate.

day6_hockey-9

I traded my Canada scarf with this group of Russian athletes at the cauldron for some Russian Olympic pins.

Russian Fans at the Olympic Cauldron

day6_hockey-10

Most Canadians made their way to the House of Switzerland to celebrate the win and as was the nightly tradition, the Canadian national anthem broke out.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWLp7cdS5RU&list=UUAX8Y6j1NZFWZleMJcM_FXA

20140324-102301.jpg

It was another awesome day full of pleasant surprises. Two incredible hockey games, an unexpected curling, new friends and fantastic memories that will last a lifetime! Despite my challenges with lost luggage and the flu, my Olympic experience was only getting better and better with each passing day!

Did you watch Team Canada play in the quarter final match?

Sochi Day 6: Quarterfinal Hockey & Semifinal Curling

Street Hockey: Canada House vs USA House

Thank goodness my fever broke after a full 20 hours of sleep! I woke up on Day 6 to a message from a friend letting me know about a street hockey game between Canada Olympic House and USA Olympic House that was supposed to begin in a half hour. I rushed to get out the door and to the Olympic Park, but unfortunately I missed it. But I was still able to get a shot of speed skater (and best team mate ever!Gilmore Junio and figure skating Silver Medalist Patrick Chan before they cleared everything away.

Street Hockey at Canada Olympic House 2014

Patrick Chan playing street hockey

Buy the Olympic Spirit eBook NOW!

Men’s Quarterfinal Hockey: Russia vs Finland

My first event of the day was the men’s Russia vs Finland quarter final hockey game. When I bought the tickets a year ago, I was really hoping I would get to watch Canada play, but this wasn’t the case. I had sold my second ticket to this game earlier in the week, so I had some extra cash to put towards a ticket for the Canada vs Latvia game later that evening. I found a Russian fan outside Canada Olympic House selling tickets and managed to get a Category A ticket for just over half of face value. I was set and excited to watch Team Canada play! My one-event day just turned into a two-event day! YAY!

The Russia vs Finland game was INSANE! The energy in the arena was crazy, wow! Both the Russian and Finnish fans were in top form. Finland won with a score of 3 – 1, sending them to the semifinal round, and Russia was out, a huge disappointment to Russian fans.

 

Sochi 2014 Olympics Fans Russia vs Finland Quarter Final Hockey  Russian fans - 2014 Olympics

Finnish Fans - 2014 Olympics

 

Men’s Semifinal Curling: Canada vs China

As I left the Shayba Arena, I got a message from a friend (who I had met in a Facebook group and had yet to meet in person) offering me a free last minute ticket to the men’s semifinal curling match. My luck went even further in that Canada was playing China! My two-event day just turned into a three-event day! YES!! 

 

I was once again blown away by the fact that: People. Are. Awesome! (Thank you Tom!!!)

 

At Vancouver 2010 I had only watched Paralympic curling, so I was excited (as excited as one can get about curling…) to go check out my first Olympic curling match. Canada beat China with a score of 10 – 6! Yay Canada!

 

Men's Curling Semifinal - Canada vs China

Men's Curling Semifinal - Canada vs China

Men's Curling Semifinal - Canada vs China

 

I had to duck out of curling early though, to head back to the Shayba Arena for Canada vs Latvia hockey. I’ll tell you all about that in part 2 of the story because Team Canada hockey should really have it’s very own post…

Buy the Olympic Spirit eBook NOW!