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2010 Paralympics Opening Ceremonies

On March 12th, the 2010 Paralympic Opening Ceremonies took place at BC Place in Vancouver, BC. This was an absolutely amazing and inspiring event and I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to experience it from several photographer positions in the stadium, due to my official VANOC media accreditation.

It was an amazing sight to walk into the stadium and see the stadium filled with people wearing the colored ponchos assigned to their seats. Blue, green and white flooded the stands in the shape of the Paralympic logo. Awesome!

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

The Opening Ceremony was an amazing show with some incredible talent from the disabled community. The Ceremonies started with the introduction of the esteemed guests, including Prime Minister Harper, Premier Gordon Campbell, VANOC CEO John Furlong, and Paralympics President Philip Craven, among members of the four host nations and others.

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

From there, they dove right into the performances and introduction of the Paralympic athletes. Canada is featured here:

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

And from there, the talent and performances spoke for themselves:

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

The inspiring speakers of the event: VANOC CEO, John Furlong, IPC President, Philip Craven and Rick Hansen of the Rick Hansen Foundation and the Man in Motion World Tour.

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

And, of course, the lighting of the Paralympic Cauldron. The torch was brought in by the parents of Terry Fox, Betty and Rolly Fox, A truly emotional and inspiring moment to experience in person. It was passed off to other torch bearers before the final  15 year old torch bearer Zach Beaumont, lit the cauldron.

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

With the theme of One Inspires Many, the Paralympic Opening Ceremony was definitely inspiring. Good luck to all the athletes competing in the Games! It will be an amazing 10 days!

For more images of the Opening Ceremonies, please visit the set on Flickr!

Torch Relay at Robson Square with Roberto Luongo

You could feel that Olympic energy returning to Robson Square last night with the torch relay coming through, carried by Roberto Luongo. Hoping to see the fans just as excited during the Paralympic Games over the next ten days in support of the amazing athletes and the additional challenges they face in order to compete in this amazing event.

The crowd gets hyped for Roberto Luongo’s arrival.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Luongo finally arrives.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Luongo’s family, excited to see him.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

The lighting of the cauldron.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Passing the torch to the next 24 hour relay torch bearer.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Gabriela Luongo joined her father on stage.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Gold medal winner, Roberto Luongo with his family.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Post torch even interview. Luong speaks about his gold medal (he showed it to Ryan Kessler first!), the paralympics, the sledge hockey team and how the Olympics affected his NHL game.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vv0GmRke9Dk]

After all the Luongo excitement was over, I was excited to meet one of the day’s torch bearers. He told me all about riding on the bus with Roberto Luongo that day and how excited he was about having the honour of carrying the torch.

Paralympic Torch Bearer

For more photos from the Robson Square event, please visit my flickr page.

My Paralympics Media Accreditation!

Here it is! I was approved to receive VANOC media accreditation for the 2010 Paralympic Games! I am very excited to have this opportunity to photograph the amazing athletes participating in the Paralympics and cheer them on in their respective sports! Go Canada GO!!!

I’m aiming to go to and photograph at least one Paralympics event each day of the Games, so check back here and my Flickr account often!

My Paralympics Media Accreditation from VANOC!

Labonte Named Flag Bearer for Canada at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony

The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) today announced that sledge hockey captain Jean Labonté has been selected as flag bearer for Canada at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

“Jean has demonstrated throughout his career the determination, athletic excellence, and strong character that embodies the Paralympic spirit,” said Blair McIntosh, chef de mission, Team Canada.”  Jean is a most deserving athlete to not only captain our sledge hockey team but to also lead our entire Canadian delegation into B.C. Place for the first Paralympic Winter Games on home soil.”

The native of Gatineau, Québec has competed in three previous Paralympic Winter Games, earning a gold medal in 2006 and silver in 1998. Labonté is one of the most decorated and admired athletes in the sport, having played in five International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Sledge Hockey World Championships, taking the gold medal in 2000 and 2008, and bronze in 1996 and 2009.


(photo courtesy of the Canadian Paralympic Committee)

The veteran defenceman demonstrates great leadership both on and off the ice. Labonté is an outstanding ambassador for sledge hockey and for the Paralympic movement.  He has worked tirelessly to promote Paralympic sport across Canada, educating Canadians about sport for athletes with a disability, and encouraging young and old to participate and take advantage of sporting and volunteering opportunities in their communities.

“When the eyes of the world focus on B.C. Place for the opening ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games – the first to be hosted in Canada, they will witness an historic moment in Canadian sport,” said Carla Qualtrough, president, CPC. “The profile of Paralympic sport has reached new heights and our flag bearer, Jean Labonté, has helped lead the way. It is a tremendous honour to carry the flag for your country. Jean, like all of our Paralympic athletes, is about to make Canada very proud.”

The Opening Ceremony of the 10th Paralympic Winter Games is scheduled for 6pm PT on Friday, March 12, 2010 at BC Place in Vancouver.

About the Canadian Paralympic Committee

The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is a non-profit, private organisation with 43 member sports organisations dedicated to strengthening the Paralympic Movement.  The CPC is responsible for creating an optimal high-performance environment for the Canadian Paralympic athletes to win at Paralympic and ParaPanAmerican Games.  By supporting Canadian Paralympic athletes and promoting their success, the CPC inspires all Canadians with a physical disability to get involved in sport through programs delivered by its member organisations.  For more information, visit www.paralympic.ca.

Follow the Canadian Paralympic Committee by becoming a fan on Facebook, and following on Twitter.

(News Release courtesy of the Canadian Paralympic Committee.)

(Photo credit on blog page: Ariane Colenbrander)

Sourtoe Cocktail Anyone?

I was very fortunate to be invited by the Yukon Department of Tourism to go on a trip to Whitehorse during the Olympic Games on February 20th, 2010. It was an absolutely amazing day! We left Vancouver on an 8:30am flight, spent the day in and around Whitehorse and were back in Vancouver just after midnight the same day. Awesome!

One of the crazy experiences of the day was drinking Captain Dick’s Sourtoe Cocktail from Dawson City.

What is a Sourtoe Cocktail you ask? You may be sorry that you asked. I tried not to think too much about it  too much when I swigged the cocktail and you will understand why in a moment…

A Sourtoe Cocktail is your choice of either Yukon Jack Whiskey or Klondike Vodka, both distilled in Yukon. Then the Captain drops a mummified human toe (toe nail and all!) into the drink!

Before you drink it, the Captain recites,

“The toe goes into your drink. You can drink it fast, or you can drink it slow. But the toe must touch your lips, and I must witness that.”

Once you’ve swallowed the liquor and it has touched your lips (do NOT swallow the toe), you sign the book and the Captain signs your certificate and wallet card and BAM! You’re a member of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club!

As you will see in the video below, I became a member of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club that day. I received a certificate and wallet card to prove it! In fact, I am member number 34,958! (That’s a lot of toe kissers!)

For more photos of the cocktail and the rest of my Yukon trip, please visit my Flickr page.

For more information about the Sourtoe Cocktail, see the Sourtoe Cocktail Club website.

 

SourToe Cocktail

SourToe Cocktail

SourToe Cocktail

SourToe Cocktail

Gold Medal Hockey at the Molson Hockey House

I watched the Canada vs. USA Gold Medal Hockey game from the best venue in town next to Canada Hockey Place: the Molson Canadian Hockey House!

Already at 8am the lineups were growing for bars, pubs and cultural houses around the city. The lineups on and around Granville Street were huge in the morning in anticipation for the noon-time game! This was the view from my living room window that morning.

Pre Gold Medal Hockey

Inside the Molson Canadian Hockey House, the people were packing in and the energy and excitement for the upcoming game was building!

Inside the Molson Hockey House

Francois-Louis Tremblay stopped by to celebrate the Canadian speed skating team’s Gold Medal win!

François-Louis Tremblay visits the Molson Hockey House!

Wide Mouth Mason played two AMAZING sets! I was very excited about this, as I had been hoping to see them at some point during the Games and my moment had finally come!

Wide Mouth Mason at Molson Hockey House

Wide Mouth Mason at Molson Hockey House

And of course, the crowd cheered for Team Canada with such loud, excited optimism, that I have no doubt that we could be heard at Canada Hockey Place!

The Gold Medal Party at the Hockey House

The Gold Medal Party at the Hockey House

Canada wins GOLD!!!

After the game, and during the Olympic Games Closing Ceremonies, Roberto Luongo and his daughter, Gabriela, stopped by for a quick visit to thank the fans for their support and show off his gold medal and the crowd went WILD for one of Canada’s newest heroes!

Roberto Luongo visits Molson Hockey House after the game!

Roberto Luongo visits Molson Hockey House after the game!

All in all, it was an amazing day and the perfect wrap up for the Games! If someone had written a script for the day, it could not have been written with a better ending!

For more photos of the Molson Canadian Hockey House during the Gold Medal Hockey Game, visit my set on Flickr.

For more photos of Wide Mouth Mason, there is a Flickr set for that too!

Coca-Cola Live Positively Awards Vancouver 2010

This past Tuesday I was invited to attend the Coca-Cola Live Positively Awards, held during the 2010 Olympic Games at the BC Media Center in Vancouver.

“Live Positively” represents The Coca-Cola Company‘s philosophical approach to building sustainable communities through initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the communities where it operates. The Live Positively concept grew from the recognition that sustainable growth for The Coca-Cola Company is integrally connected to both its business and its marketing success, as well as its societal role.

CocaCola Live Positively Awards

The Coca-Cola Company is honouring individuals, families and organizations with the Coca-Cola Live Positively Award during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Each recipient was chosen because of his or her efforts to turn their passion for improving the well-being of Canadians into important changes that have positively impacted their local communities. With a focus on either active living or environmental sustainability, each recipient has a unique and inspirational story to share.

The following were honoured on Tuesday afternoon:

Jennifer Heil & Dominick Gauthier – on behalf of B2ten:

B2ten is a not for profit organization that supports Canadian elite athletes so they may succeed at the highest level of international competition. For more information, visit http://www.b2ten.com/.

CocaCola Live Positively Awards

Sami Jo Small:

Sami Jo is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and the 2009 recipient of the Athletes CAN Leadership Award. Sami Jo is also the co-founder of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. Her commitment to sport and her involvement in developing the Canadian Women’s Hockey League has helped create a forum for women across the country to participate in our nation’s sport at an elite level.

CocaCola Live Positively Awards

Canadian Olympic School Project:

The Olympic School Program is the Canadian Olympic Committee’s primary education program aiming to spread the positive message of the Olympic Games to all students between grades 2-12. The organization has been providing teachers with Olympic Games themed resources for over 20 years.

CocaCola Live Positively Awards

CocaCola Live Positively Awards

House of Switzerland Canada 2010 Hosts Online Charity Auction

Vancouver residents are welcoming the world by sharing their hometown’s beautiful landscape and resources with an estimated 2.3 million athletes, officials, international visitors, media, and spectators.

The House of Switzerland Canada 2010 will show its appreciation to the City of Vancouver by hosting a charity auction on its website in support of Streetohome, a partnership between the Vancouver Foundation, City of Vancouver and Province of British Columbia, dedicated to providing Vancouverites access to safe, standard, affordable housing.

“As we are guests in Canada and have enjoyed great support from the public, we would like to give something back to the local community,” said Manuel Salchi, Director of the House of Switzerland Canada 2010.

The House of Switzerland Canada 2010 is auctioning off special Swiss products from its Partners and Sponsors including a Flyer electric bike, exclusive Swiss Olympic celebration jackets, brand-new Nespresso coffee machines, Lindt chocolate gift baskets, fondue sets, raclette grills, and various ski and snowboard wear from Zimtstern clothing.

“We are honoured that the House of Switzerland is donating their time and resources to benefit the residents of Vancouver. Their generous commitment to this community demonstrates the Olympic ideals of unity and humanity,” says Barbara Grantham, Acting President of Streetohome Foundation.

Online Charity Auction Details:

WEBSITEhttp://www.houseofswitzerland.org/de/charity-auction.html

OPENING DATE:  February 22, 2010

CLOSING DATE: February 28, 2010, 12:00PM

HOW TO BID:  Email the item number, contact information, and bid amount to [email protected]. Bids will be updated on the website in the morning, afternoon, and evening.  The highest bidders will be contacted by phone at the end of the auction, February 28th.

WINNING BIDS:  Winning bidders must pick up their items at the House of Switzerland Canada 2010 in Vancouver located at 1696 Duranleau Street, Granville Island, Vancouver, BC on March 1, 2010 between 5:00PM – 10:00PM.  Only credit card and cash accepted. No home delivery option.

About Streetohome Foundation

Streetohome Foundation is a community organization working to ensure that all citizens of Vancouver have access to safe, decent, affordable housing. They bring together business, government and community leaders to build resources and develop lasting solutions to homelessness. Everyone has a role to play. Find out how you can be part of the solution at www.streetohome.org.

[mappress]

A 10 Day Summary…

I’ve been quite fortunate in getting tickets to Olympic events here at the Vancouver 2010 Games! I’ve been lucky enough to acquire tickets to several events, all at face value. Events I’ve seen include speed skating at the Olympic Oval, men’s hockey at Canada Hockey Place, and women’s hockey at Thunderbird Stadium at UBC. I’ve also been to a Victory Ceremony and to the Molson Canadian Hockey House twice to watch hockey games there.

The best part about all of these opportunities for me is that I am able to take  photos of once in a lifetime events in our beautiful city!

Here are some of those images to give you a taste of my 2010 Olympics experiences:

Speed Skating:

On February 13th, after winning tickets in the Holland Heineken House ticket lottery for Dutch citizens, I went to my first speed skating event. It was unbelievable! The energy in the Richmond Oval was electrifying! And the fact that Holland’s Sven Kramer won Gold, made it that much better!

Men's 5000m Speed Skating

Men's 5000m Speed Skating

Men's 5000m Speed Skating

Gold Medalist, Sven Kramer of the Netherlands.

Sven Kramer, 5000M Gold Medal Speed Skater

Victory Ceremony:

The first gold medal for Canada was awarded to Alex Bilodeau on February 15th. I was at the medal ceremony to see it happen!

Feb 15 Olympic Victory Ceremony

Feb 15 Olympic Victory Ceremony

Feb 15 Olympic Victory Ceremony\

Molson Canadian Hockey House:

On February 15th, Tom Cochrane played at the Molson Canadian Hockey House. Guests to his stage included Tyler Stewart of the Barenaked Ladies, and Donald Sutherland. It was an amazing show and the House was full of energy and excitement! A super fun time! If you have a chance to watch a game at the Molson Canadian Hockey House, take it! Included in the FanZone ticket is entrance, food, and non-alcoholic beverages. Beer is $7.50 tax and tip included.

Tom Cochrane at Molson Hockey House

Tom Cochrane at Molson Hockey House

Tom Cochrane at Molson Hockey House

Molson Hockey House

Men’s Hockey:

I was at the USA vs Norway game on February 18th. We had seats right behind the photographers’ pit and I was able to sneak into the photographers area for about 20 minutes in the second period! It was amazing to be so close to the action and having the players bang up against the glass right in front of me! Here are some of the shots from that game.

USA - Norway Olympic Hockey Game

USA - Norway Olympic Hockey Game

USA - Norway Olympic Hockey Game

USA - Norway Olympic Hockey Game

Women’s Hockey:

On February 22nd, the Swiss played the Russians in Women’s Hockey at Thunderbird Stadium out at UBC. After a well-matched game, a few injuries, overtime and a shootout, the Swiss were victorious, winning 4th place in the 2010 Olympic standings! Congratulations Switzerland!

Women's Hockey: SUI - RUS

Women's Hockey: SUI - RUS

Women's Hockey: SUI - RUS

Women's Hockey: SUI - RUS

Women's Hockey: SUI - RUS

Believe it or not, there are still tickets available for upcoming events! We are into the final week of the Games and your final chances to see some awesome Olympic athletes in action! Try your luck for tickets at the Vancouver 2010 Fan to Fan site, Craigslist, or even right outside the venues from people trying to simply sell extra tickets at face value because they are unable to attend the event. It doesn’t always have to be pricey!

Witnessing Olympic Gold

February 13th was an amazing day for me! It all started with a walk in the park with the dog, where I received a phone call from the Holland Heineken House saying that I had won the ticket lottery for tickets for the 5000 M speed skating match that day!

With only an hour and a half before the event, things were rushed! I raced home, got ready to go, jumped in the car and raced down to the Holland House to pick up the tickets to make it to the Olympic Oval in Richmond in time!

So the tickets placed us in a section with other Dutch fans, all decked out in Orange and crazy costumes. Being Dutch myself, this was a very fun place to be!

There were 14 pairs racing in the event and in the end the Gold Medal went to the Netherlands’ Sven Kramer!!! Kramer not only won the race, but also broke an Olympic Record for the 5000 M race! AWESOME!

Not only did I see this amazing race and gold medal win, but later that evening I was fortunate enough to be at the Holland House for the celebration and to photograph Sven Kramer! Below are some of the photos of the day. Please visit Flickr to see more images of the day.

Men's 5000m Speed Skating

Men's 5000m Speed Skating

Men's 5000m Speed Skating

Men's 5000m Speed Skating

Sven Kramer, 5000M Gold Medal Speed Skater

Holland Heineken House Gold Medal Celebration for Sven Kramer

The ticket lottery at the Holland Heineken House is only available to Dutch citizens, so not an option for everyone. But if you have your Dutch passport and you want to try your chances to win the option to buy coveted tickets, head on down to the Holland Heineken House ticket desk and put your name in the draw! If I can win them, you can too!!