After months of preparing, family and friends of the U.S. Olympic Men’s Curling Team are arriving in Vancouver just in time for the first draw of the competition on Tuesday, 2/16. I am Carrie Benton, wife of John Benton who plays Lead on Team U.S.A. I will be posting a daily blog, and from time to time will have other family members and friends submit to the blog as well. We’ll try to give you an idea of what we as family members and friends are experiencing here at the Olympics.
I arrived in Vancouver on Sunday with our two family friends Kim Leppanen and Lori Klingelhoets. Our trip started off with a packed airport and slow lines at Minneapolis St. Paul Airport, but employees were helpful and full of excitement when we told them of our reason for travel! Our plane included many folks traveling to the Olympics.
We arrived to find the Vancouver airport decked out in Olympic fare, so the excitement started to build. We were finally in Vancouver! Media were everywhere and crowds had gathered. We were pretty sure they weren’t there to greet us…we just happened to arrive moments before the Canadian Men’s Olympic Hockey Team!
The welcome we’ve received has been wonderful. Everyone at the airport was very helpful. There were volunteers every few feet it seemed! They helped us navigate our way through customs and the airport and out to the Canada Line train that took us to our rented home. We, like many Olympic families, have rented a home in Vancouver. Our home is lovely!
We explored Vancouver a bit today. We found the Proctor and Gamble Team USA Family Home which is a venue where U.S. athletes and their family and friends can meet up to have lunch or dinner, watch the Olympics in viewing lounges, enjoy a massage, use the internet café, hang out or even do your laundry! We met Theresa Miller, mother of the U.S. Men’s Hockey Team goaltender Ryan Miller and were able to applaud Bryon Wilson, who won the bronze medal in Freestyle Skiing-Men’s Moguls, when he arrived at the P & G House. It’s going to be great to meet other Olympic athletes, families, and friends! What an awesome gesture of support by Proctor and Gamble. Be sure to use their products!
We found the U.S. Olympic Store which sells all of the U.S. Olympic clothing you’ve been seeing on television. We saw the Official Olympic Store, but the line to get into the store was a city block long! We’ll head to that store early some morning before the lines get too bad. We want to see the large Quatchi mascot they have in that store!
We ended our day by checking out the curling venue. There were passes available for family members to watch the closed practice session. It was neat to see the venue before we actually begin play. There were other family and media in attendance, and Princess Anne even stopped by!
We’ve navigated our way around the city fairly well using the Canada Line Train system along with a lot of walking. We’re resting up tonight anticipating our early morning tomorrow. Spectators are encouraged to get to their sport’s venue up to two hours before game time as all venues have security check points to go through. With a 9:00 a.m. game scheduled, we’re in for an early morning.