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Monday, Feb. 11th, Day 1

(all images can be clicked to enlarge)

Men's Luge at Olympic Park

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Still dark when we arrived at 5 AM The theme of the Olympics in Salt Lake was "Light The Fire Within"

Today we got up at 5 AM for the drive to Olympic Park to attend the Men's Luge starting at 9 AM.  The laptop showed a travel time of 45 minutes but the Olympic literature said to allow about 3 hours for travel from where we were and time to pass through security.

As it turned out the traffic was no problem at all and we arrived at the venue at 6:15, exactly as predicted by the laptop.

Of course it was very dark when we arrived at Olympic Park and the temperature was only 10 degrees!  We parked the car, bundled up and headed for the security stations.

Unfortunately, the security stations didn't open up until 7:00 so we waited in line and participated in the Olympic sport for such situations - getting to know others in line.

When the security stations opened, clearing through them was no more difficult than at an airport and went smoothly.

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Almost to the top!  You can see the Luge track in the center. At the Top ...


The view from the top

After clearing security we were confronted by a choice, we could take a shuttle bus up the hill or walk the "Golden Mile" for 1.25 miles.  Since they were handing out special pins to the first 2000 people to walk to the top we walked.

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Curve 14 where we were standing is to the left in this photo.  After passing curve 14 they would run the straight section shown and then into the finish turn.  Also show is some of the 16,000 that were there with us :-)

There was a large crowd at this event (16,000 I think ...) and we had quite a time trying to find a location along the track where we could get up against the rail.  We finally found a spot in curve 14 where the crowd at the rail was only two deep.  It turned out to be a fairly good spot because the large status board (shows sled location on the track and rankings) was above us and there was a long straight section to our right.

While we were waiting for the race to start we were chatting with some folks and all of a sudden we heard a "whooosh ..." and something flashed by.  Unknown to us a test run had been made before the start of the race.  He went by so fast that he was only a blur!  David, James and Cathy will remember how fast the bobsled went past us in Albertville - well, this was faster!

The race started and it was unbelievable how fast they would go by just feet in front of us.  They were doing over 85 mph.

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He's coming ... There he is! He's gone!

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Heading for the busses after the race

After it was all over we joined in the large, but steadily moving, crowed towards the busses to take us back to the parking lot.

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"The Bus"

Ah, yes, "the bus":  David, James and Cathy will remember the long bus rides we took during the Olympics in Albertville, France.  Here in Salt lake we drove ourselves to a large "park and ride" parking lot designated for the specific venue.  We then boarded a bus for the 5 to 10 minute bus ride to the venue itself.  The whole system worked very well and we had no problems at all.

Medal Ceremony

In the evening we went to a medals ceremony in the Olympic section of  downtown Salt Lake.  At this Olympics there was a "flower ceremony" at the venue for the three medal winners and then later in the evening all a 3-hour combination concert, medals ceremony, etc. was held where all the winning athletes for that day were given their medals.  After the concert there were fireworks each night.  It was much like a large street party.

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The stage where the medals ceremony and concert were held USA sweeps the "Half Pipe" Snowboarding event. A USA sweep!