Usually by the end of an international sporting event, everyone is ready to go home.
It’s also a good time to reflect on the week that was.
I’ll try to fill you in on some of the things you likely didn’t hear about.
- The kindness of the volunteers is worth mentioning.
They were more than helpful to everyone.
In the media centre, I was asking if anyone knew where I could get the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. (I have a story that appeared in the paper. I saw it online, but would like a print version).
A volunteer started making phone calls for me. We didn’t find a copy, but the effort was appreciated. (If anyone here knows where to purchase Haaretz, please let me know).
I also saw one volunteer hand over a pair of purple World Championship mittens to an Italian skater. He was desperate to find a pair on the last day of the championship and the boutiques had closed down. Too early each night, at 8 p.m. while the skating went to 10 or 11 each night.
The volunteer pulled out a pair she had and handed them over. The skater, in keeping with expectations of Italian men, was effusive and ran over to give her a kiss and a hug.
Two Italians lost their cellphones and volunteers were working hard to try to find them. I don’t know if they did or not.
There was a bossy volunteer who snarled at me to get off a bus when I was trying to confirm my pick up location. She had people waiting to get on, but I only took less than 10 seconds to ask the question and the driver pointed to the spot where I was to be. No patience from this volunteer and that is what is always required at these events.
So not every single volunteer was helpful and pleasant but almost all were that I ran across.
- I didn’t like the clapping in the press seating in the arena. Some foreign journalists clapped and cheered for their country’s skaters. It is usually a no-no in any North American press box.
- Little touches made the championships special, such as the Zamboni driver at the Gardens wearing a tuxedo. The shops decorated with skating exhibits in their windows also enhanced the downtown.
- Calgary Olympics silver medallist Elizabeth Manley made the day of a shuttle driver. He took her back to her hotel after the competition and asked if he could get a photo with her. She obliged. He was over the moon as earlier in the evening he had also driven Tessa Virtue to a north London home. His impression of Virtue? She was very personable.
- Scott Moir didn’t want to talk about what went wrong in his performance with Virtue after the short program.
He thanked a journalist for asking how they move forward from there rather than talking about the errors.
- I saw a few skaters, including an Asian skater, make the sign of the cross right before their program started. Apparently religion isn’t dead among the young.
- The crowd cheered for each and every skater and the athletes all received gifts from the fans, who threw them to the ice after the completion of a program. The support was overwhelming. If anyone was struggling in the routine, the spectators cheered louder to encourage them. But they also saved their standing ovations for when they were deserved.
Now for a few questions.
I noticed that CBC commentator Tracy Wilson coaches several of the skaters, along with Brian Orser.
Do you think this poses a conflict?
What were your impressions of the figure skating championships, even if you stayed at home and watched on TV?
Are you glad the world championships came to London?
One journalist said the Queen’s visit to London was bigger than this world sporting event. Do you agree?
A knight stands guard over the wood sculptures on Dundas St. Didn’t need to as they were all fenced in and protected from the public.