Sendero Group Travel Blog

Follow Sendero travelers on their adventures using accessible GPS.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


First Day of the Paralympic Games for the Presidential Delegation

Our 4 vehicle motorcade headed from Vancouver to Whistler on Saturday for the first day of Paralympic competition, specifically to see the biathlon and downhill ski races at Whistler. It was snowing but they had lots of creature comforts for us including a scarf, hat, gloves, blanket, hand warmer and seat cushion. We sat all huddled up as the athletes raced, some sitting and some standing in the Biathlon. The top Russian who ended up taking the gold, has both arms amputated above the elbow. He has a special rig so he can pull the trigger of the rifle with his teeth. Some how, he holds the rifle under his stump and didn't miss a single shot. The blind skiers were doing this too including the Canadian who was in both the Olympics and Paralympics. Andy from the U.S. captured a Bronze, the first medal of the games for the U.S.
Mike and Jennifer in the stands at the biathlon

Our motorcade then took us around the mountain for the downhill competition. This was much more comfortable. There was an indoor VIP building overlooking the course where we were warm and had food and beverage. It was a great opportunity to meet dignitaries from other teams. I particularly enjoyed speaking Spanish with the team from Spain. I had a photo taken with two women from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. We had the pleasure of meeting the Premier of British Columbia, Gordon Campbell and many others.
Mike with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Unfortunately, after 2 hours of delays, the downhill was postponed due to fog. This is the same run used in the other Olympics, quite a challenging course.

We had the distinct pleasure of being allowed into the Athlete's village. We got a tour of the facilities, the same ones for the other Olympics and we ate in the dining facility with the athletes. I met the 3 visually impaired athletes of the 50-member U.S. team, Caitlin, Danielle and Mark all high partials in the B3 category. This is a very low number of competitors compared to the 80s when we had over 15 team members. They were all fascinating people and disappointed that the downhill was postponed. They will race the slalom on Sunday but we unfortunately are scheduled to attend wheelchair curling and sledge hockey and won't see them race.

I have really enjoyed getting to know the members of our delegation. Bonnie Saint John, a single leg amputee, skied along with me in 1984 but I didn't know her then. Melissa Stockwell is an amputee swimmer from the 2004 summer games. Jim Martinson is a crazy double amputee skier from the 1992 Paralympics and still competing in the X games at age 63. The Secretary of the VA, the US Ambassador and the head of the EPA along with Kareem Dale, the President's advisor on disabilities are all down to earth amazing people.

Bonnie Saint John, Rick Hansen and Mike
Rick Hansen and Jim Martinson

I keep running across blasts from the past, people who have stayed involved in Paralympic winter sports whereas I have been out of touch since I left the board of USABA. Ted Fay for example, Martha Hill and others. I love meeting the kids from the "Paralympic Experience," young people who will be our next crop of Paralympians.

Many of you may have seen the Procter and Gamble commercials about giving to the Moms. I met people from P&G and some of the moms hear on their behalf. I love the story about the Iraqi veteran whose rehab got him back into training for the Paralympics. He knew he was on the true road to recovery when his 3 year-old son, said, Daddy, I can run with you again.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home


August 1997   January 1998   August 1999   December 1999   January 2000   September 2004   October 2004   November 2004   December 2004   March 2005   May 2005   July 2005   August 2005   September 2005   November 2005   May 2006   June 2006   August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   November 2006   December 2006   February 2007   March 2007   April 2007   May 2007   July 2007   August 2007   September 2007   October 2007   November 2007   December 2007   January 2008   February 2008   March 2008   May 2008   June 2008   July 2008   August 2008   October 2008   January 2009   June 2009   July 2009   August 2009   September 2009   October 2009   November 2009   December 2009   January 2010   March 2010   April 2010   July 2010   October 2010   December 2010   February 2011   May 2011   July 2011   September 2011   October 2011   November 2011   January 2012   February 2012   March 2012   April 2012   May 2012   July 2012   August 2012   October 2012   November 2012   December 2012   January 2013   March 2013   June 2013   July 2013   August 2013   September 2013   October 2013   November 2013   December 2013   January 2014   March 2014   April 2014   August 2014   September 2014   October 2014   November 2014   December 2014   February 2015   July 2015   August 2015   September 2015   November 2015   December 2015   January 2016   January 2017   September 2018   November 2018  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?