A lot of memories are flooding back to me from my 2002 trip the Salt Lake City Olympics with my father thanks generally to the Vancouver Olympics currently taking place in British Columbia, Canada. There are so many great things that I experienced while there that it’s difficult to talk about them in one post; I mean, I volunteered during the Olympic torch ceremony here in Denver, I road tripped to the games with my father, and I experienced the rush of seven separate events. Heck, I was even interviewed by the local news before going to the games! So I’m actually planning on doing a couple of posts while the games run as I revel in my rush of memories.
The first part of my little trip down memory lane has to deal with the luge event. It’s all very top of mind with the death of Georgian Olympian Nodar Kumaritashvili. The luge event, held in Park City, Utah, was one of the first events we went to. I was really excited about this one as it has always been one of my favorite events at the games. I absolutely love the speed and thrills of the event. It fascinates me how people slide down the tube on a sled on their backside with really nothing there to protect them. It’s absolutely insane and something I have no desire to try, but definitely something I can’t turn away from either.
So, when my father and I put in for the ticket lottery back in 2000, I knew this was one of the events I had to see. I made sure that we got this event in our ticket package as this seemed to me to be one of the highlight events of the games. Of course, in doing this, I never really planned for the photography challenges that would present themselves while standing on the side of the track. Not for a moment did I contemplate that I’d have any difficulty in taking a single photo. I certainly was naive in that respect.
As I stood along the track, within arms reach of the Olympian as they zoomed past us, I snapped photo after photo. I knew there was no way 90% of them were going to turn out, so I had to click away as much as possible so I could get a few good shots. There was just no way around it as I knew I was only capturing a head here or a foot there as these athletes zip along at what felt like mach speed. It was absolutely insane and likely to cause whiplash if you tried to watch them pass by you.
Towards the end of the event I got a few good photos as I learned the nuances of the track and the audio the sled made as it approached. It all helped me time the photos, which was really the only way to get anything. Well, there was that and praying for a bit of good luck on the side as well. That never hurt as I watched sled after sled zip by us at speeds I never thought possible growing up going down the neighborhood hills back in Minnesota.
I absolutely loved the event and was quite disappointed when I had to stay in the hotel room sick while my father went to the doubles luge events. I was just as excited for that one, but just couldn’t do it after being so sick for the rest of the week we were at the games. And normally I wouldn’t have stayed in, no matter how sick I was, but I felt I needed to save my energy for what we were doing later that night. And that, of course, will be the topic of my next Olympic Memory post…