Tuesday, Feb. 12th, Day 2
(all images can be clicked to enlarge)Once again we were up and out early for a full, exciting day.
Women's Cross Country at Soldier Hollow
We drove to the Heber City Train Depot to ride the historic Heber Valley Railroad. The train has vintage coaches pulled by turn-of-the-century steam locomotives. The 20 minute ride took us through the beautiful Heber Valley. The morning air was crisp and cold. The sunshine on the heavily frosted trees made everything sparkle.
At the end of the line, horse drawn sleighs were waiting to take us the remaining distance to the Soldier Hollow site of cross country skiing and biathlon. The sleigh brought us to a special security gate for easy entry to the venue.
Soldier Hollow was designed to give spectators a "western experience". To us, it was one of the most beautiful and relaxing venues at the early pioneer activities such as cooking, washing, etc.
We could walk or stand anywhere along the course. There were several bridges built over the course to enable spectators to access the entire mountain meadow containing the course.
There were about 16,000 people there to cheer the women's and later the men's cross country ski teams. Because of all the outdoor space, it didn't feel crowded at all. We can now understand why people like to ski cross country.
Luckily the sun was shining brightly, and, even though it was only about 25 degrees we were soon peeling off layers of clothes and actually carried our coats!
Unfortunately, we had to leave Soldier Hollow early and take a shuttle instead of the train (which left 30 minutes after the end of the event) back to our car at the depot.
Men's Figure Skating, Short Program at Salt Lake
Our evening event was the Men's Figure Skating, Short Program.
We arrived in downtown Salt Lake early so that we could wander around Olympic Square where the Delta Center (skating venue), Coke pin-trading center, Olympic Superstore, etc. were located.
Security Into The Venues
To enter the Olympic Square you had to go through a security check. The security check at the Olympic Square was typical of the security checks at all the venues. We had to open our bag and unzip all zippers and place it on a table where it was checked. We also had to place all metal items (keys, etc.) in small plastic buckets and go through a magnetometer similar to those used at airports. If you set off the alarm on the magnetometer you were then scanned more closely by a national guardsman. All in all a quick, painless process. The lines usually moved rapidly and everyone was friendly and in good humor.
We had excellent seats. As you can imagine, the crowd was mostly USA, and cheered loudly for our 3 US figure skaters. It was always interesting, as opposed to watching on TV, you get to see all of the skaters - some good and some not so good. There are times when a skater doesn't get high marks from the judges but the crowd really likes them - and lets them know it - very exciting.
Another thing that was interesting was that of all the non-US skaters - Russia's Alexei Yagudin and Canada's Elvis Stojko were the only 2 men to receive a spontaneous standing ovation from the crowd. It was obvious that Yagudin was gold medal material. He was fantastic.
... and so ended another great day at the Olympics.