The day started at 5:00a with breakfast at 6:00a. Actually it started at 4:00a. We realized just how far out in the country we were when the coolest thing happened, we were awaken by a rooster's crow. Once breakfast was over it was on to the town of Bardonecchia in the mountains where the snowboarding event would take place.
Scheduled events for the day were the Men's Half Pipe Qualifications & Finals, Men's Short Track 500m Qualifications & Finals, Women's Short Track 500m Preliminaries, and the Women's Short Track 3000m Relay Semifinals.
At breakfast we met this really nice couple. Mark who is Canadian (we won't hold that against him :-) and Kristen who is an American. This was already their third day at the Olympics. They had attended the Opening Ceremonies and the first day of events. It just so happened that their first event that morning was the same event we were attending, so we offered to give them a ride. This would save them the trouble of trying to take two trains and a bus to get to the venue. The drive to the venue took about 1hr and 25mins. We expected the traffic to be really bad heading out, but to our surprise there was none. Parking was not a problem since we had reserved parking, at all the locations we would be visiting, long before the start of the Olympics.
Snowboarding was on the agenda first...Our First Olympic Event Ever!!
We arrived at the venue with plenty of time to spare. Good thing, because there was a bit of a line to get in, but nothing like the line to get out. It took us about 25 minutes to get in and about 1hr & 15mins to get out...what's wrong with that picture?? We saw some snowboarders warming up once we got in, the competition was expected to start soon. Other snowboarders were beginning to make there was to the start.
The Pipe was in place and everything was ready to go. And as you can see, it was a beautiful day for snowboarding.
The polizia (police) was also on the job making sure everything was secure and safe. Check out their cool vehicles.
The competition got under way and snowboarders were flying in and out of the pipe. The Americans started in pretty good shape and finished the qualification round with all four Americans making it to the finals. Shaun White was a little shaky in the qualification round and his dad may have been just a little nervous about the competition, but Shaun came back to soar high above the clouds to claim the Gold Medal for the United states.
Danny Kass finished in second to claim the Silver Medal and the other two US snowboarders finished in 4th and 6th. Not a bad start at all for the US in these Olympics.
Once snowboarding was over it was back to Torino for the Short Track Speed Skating competitions. The drive back was again without any major traffic and no issues with parking since it was reserved.
The Short Track events took place in the Palavela arena. This is also the arena where the Figure Skating would later take place. Getting to the arena was not problem. Once we had parked, we walked to the streetcar stop which was located just outside of the parking area. We caught the number 18 streetcar which would make a stop about 1 block over from the arena. The Americans did not fair to well in the competition on this day. Apolo Ohno from the US was expected to finish strong, but ran into trouble on the ice and failed to make it to the finals. But that's ok, we still enjoyed ourselves and we did our part to support the US team.
One event in the Short Track we found to be very interesting was the relay. This event has 16 skaters on the ice at the same time, 4 teams with 4 members each. However, at any give time there are 4 on the track and 12 skating circles in the middle. Every 1.5 laps a different skater from the team would move out onto the track and receive the "handoff" by being pushed by the team mate that just completed the 1.5 laps. Confusing to explain, confusing to try to track, but interesting to watch.
A few more pics from Short Track:
With the first day completed we headed back to our B&B and got in around 12:15. Off to bed with another 5:00a start.
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