HomeDanceMelanie’s #OlympicBlog – The Vitality!

Melanie’s #OlympicBlog – The Vitality!

I left off with my weblog the night time earlier than the free dance, when Danielle and I went out for a pleasant dinner. That proved to be a wonderful concept, because the final week of the Olympic Video games is TOUGH for a determine skating specialist! We solely had at some point “off” and used it to see two different sports activities, so it didn’t really feel like a lot of an off day.

The Free Dance was within the morning (primetime and post-Tremendous Bowl on NBC within the USA), and it was robust to re-adjust for a morning occasion after a few slower mornings. So it was yet one more day of a 5am alarm, skipping breakfast, and heading to the rink to avoid wasting a spot. I used to be upset (however not shocked) to stroll into the rink and see that I used to be in Tier 3 for the picture draw as soon as once more. Sadly, not solely was I in Tier 3, however I used to be one of many final photographers to be referred to as, and my solely decisions for an ice-level spot had been alongside the lengthy facet, reverse the judges. This allowed me to get some good athlete/coach interplay images, however it was robust to shoot with a 300 prime lens from my spot. I had a zoom lens on my second digital camera, however I don’t just like the look of these images as a lot, and I ended up being reasonably upset with my free dance images. I hold reminding myself that I bought nice photographs from apply the day earlier than; I simply want to seek out time to edit them!

I had a variety of nerves throughout the free dance (can not even think about what the athletes felt), and it was great to see so many sturdy performances. The reduction evident on the faces of most opponents after they completed was so sturdy. I’m positive that each Olympic 12 months is such a psychological battle, however given the challenges of the previous two years, it felt to me just like the athletes had been dealing with a lot extra stress this 12 months. I’m positive that the psychological challenges appeared insurmountable at occasions, and I’ve such respect and admiration for each single workforce that competed in Beijing.

The ice dancers that grew up within the U.S. and Canadian techniques had been all athletes that I had photographed since they had been younger youngsters, so my feelings had been operating tremendous excessive as I watched all of those “youngsters” obtain their Olympic desires. A protracted-running joke with my mates and colleagues is that I’ve huge “proud mother” power, and this was no exception. 

Following the free dance and the mascot ceremony within the venue, Danielle and I labored a bit on the rink after which caught a bus again to the MMC. We returned our borrowed digital camera gear, labored somewhat extra on images, and bought a meal within the eating corridor (extra rice and dumplings, undoubtedly). 

It had snowed the day earlier than after which temperatures had plunged to the coldest we’d skilled but in Beijing, so we didn’t need to head to the medals plaza too early, however we additionally needed to have the ability to seize a spot on the middle podium. Once we’d gone to the boys’s medal ceremony, the middle spots had been all gone by the point that we arrived. So we braved the chilly and headed to the medals plaza about 45 minutes earlier than the dance medals had been set to begin. We didn’t get heart spots at first, however Greg had permission to be within the “moat” in entrance of the stage for the quick observe medal ceremony, since a Canadian had medaled and he was photographing the ceremony for the Canadian Olympic Committee, so he gave me his heart spot when he moved. My coat and hat and fleece leggings below my pants had been maintaining me heat sufficient (largely), and I’d placed on a second pair of socks after we left the MMC, however I’d managed to neglect each pairs of taking pictures gloves (the index fingertip and thumb tip flip again and safe with magnets to permit for digital camera operation), so my palms completely froze as soon as I needed to take my mittens off to {photograph} the ceremony.

It was extremely emotional to see all three groups so relieved and completely satisfied on the rostrum, and I’m shocked I didn’t have tears frozen to my eyelashes by the point it was over! Danielle and I had been so chilly that we took the volunteers up on their provide to heat up within the blended zone tent (with heaters on full blast). Usually a move is required to enter the blended zones, and passes had been restricted as a result of social distancing necessities, however they had been further sort to the photographers within the freezing temperatures! We managed to thaw out our palms after a couple of minutes of holding them straight over a heater, after which packed as much as head again to the MMC, then to our bus again to the resort. A protracted day, however an excellent one!


I additionally scored an excellent pin commerce on free dance day, so I needed to share somewhat bit about pin buying and selling on the Olympics. Danielle had given me a heads up about bringing some pins. We don’t have an IDC pin, so I purchased some American flag pins on-line, in addition to some Chicago flag ones. I don’t assume metropolis flags are widespread in China, so it was typically onerous to clarify to the volunteers that the Chicago flag (which most had by no means seen earlier than) was for my hometown.

Originally, I simply handed out a bunch of pins with out attempting too onerous to commerce. I had introduced lots, and I noticed rapidly that since my pins didn’t have an Olympic connection, they weren’t seen as beneficial on the pin buying and selling market. On our day on the Large Air venue, phrase bought out that I had pins, and I used to be positively surrounded as we had been attempting to go to the bus. I gave out 25 pins in about two minutes! It was a enjoyable manner to have the ability to give somewhat one thing to the volunteers; most of them appeared to actually like gathering the pins.

My pin from the free dance day was from Beijing 2008, and since I really like Olympic historical past, I used to be excited to get this one! I additionally actually love the entire volunteer pins — they’re so stunning! We barely realized that our media swag bag that we bought on the primary day had a couple of pins in it, so I’m returning house with all three of these, too. And naturally I used to be elated to attain a Bing Dwen Dwen determine skating steel pin. The ceramic model appeared to be in inventory sometimes on the retailer (extra concerning the retailer in one other submit), however I by no means noticed the steel pin on the market. I traded for mine on the Opening Ceremony with a volunteer who had gone to high school in Chicago and was excited to see my Chicago flag. It turned out that he went to Columbia Faculty (however needed to return to China as a result of pandemic), which was simply two blocks from the place I went to grad faculty at Roosevelt College.

I had given out my first pins on the skating venue on New 12 months’s Day (Feb 4), to the volunteers who labored on the assist desks proper contained in the doorways to the picture workroom. They had been all so excited, and a few them put their heads collectively behind the desk after which emerged with a few fortunate New 12 months’s keychains for Danielle and me. They had been so excited, as a result of we had given them their first presents of the New 12 months, a vacation that they normally rejoice with their households, however had been unable to this 12 months, since they had been contained in the Closed Loop as effectively. We proudly wore the keychains on our credentials for the remainder of the Video games. Then one of many volunteers got here as much as us on one of many ultimate days of competitors and gave us a few Beijing 2022 notebooks. So candy!

Most (all?) of the volunteers had been from native universities, and so they had been primarily college students from English, worldwide, or communications packages, so most had excellent English language abilities. I attempted to talk Mandarin with a couple of (I’ve been finding out on numerous apps for a 12 months), however it was nonetheless a lot simpler to speak in English. They normally have February off for holidays, then their time period begins in March. They should quarantine for 21 days earlier than re-entering the remainder of China, so that they’ll do the primary couple of weeks of their time period on-line from quarantine. I’m so grateful to the entire volunteers for giving their time and for his or her neverending power and good cheer, even when managing unruly bus queues within the freezing chilly after late night time occasions!

It’s simply additional proof that sports activities in any respect ranges—even elite—are so depending on their volunteer bases. I’m so grateful for those who give again to the sports activities that they love.

~ Melanie



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