Vancouver Glam...Carrying a torch for the Governator...Shania Twain Pic!!
VANCOUVER - Everywhere you look there’s a party.
Took a cab from one of the nicest guys on the planet the other night, just a wonderful chap who took me from the Main Media Centre to the Opus Hotel, where Tourism Vancouver was putting on a nice wingding.
The driver told me business has been only so-so, but that drivers were hoping for a big weekend. The driver that took me home to my hotel was more blunt.
“Business sucks,” he said. “It’s terrible out here. I think it might be a little better in Toronto.”
Nothing surprising about that, but the guy also said he, wait for it, hears good things about Toronto and wouldn’t mind moving. How about that?
As for the Opus, there was lots of Skyy vodka being poured with grapefruit and other mixes, but I thought it best to stick with the Iniskillin Okanagan Cabernet. There were tons of glamourous people. Not to mention a couple journalists.
I got to stay there for a night last fall and didn’t check out the rooms, which have different “themes” based on the type of person you are, or want to pretend to be for a night. I was told they had people dressed in various roles for the different rooms, including the artsy film producer from Toronto.
Not my cup of tea, but some folks appeared to enjoy it.
Sports TV guy Rod Black was there, along with Jamie Sale and David Pelletier. That’s a small girl. But cute. She’s done her hair a little fluffier than usual, in case you were wondering.
Speaking of wild life, it was pretty cool to hear about the lynx jumping out at the downhill skiers during training.
According to Canadian Press, the “furry visitor with the bobbed tail and sharp claws emerged out of the woods, easily cleared a fence, then casually strolled across the course near the finish line.”
Canadian skier Manuel Osborne-Paradis of Invermere, B.C., got a good look at the lynx.
“You don’t want to get close to that,” he said.
Which made me think. What if Paradis was in the middle of a great run and the lynx appeared out of the corner of his eye and he fell or missed a gate or momentarily stumbled? There’s the obvious joke about a lynx jinx, but would he have any recourse if the critter actually veered out onto the course? You’d have to think so, but it’s not something I’ve heard about in the past.
A People Magazine web poll recently asked readers which of five Canadian pop stars they wanted to see perform at the opening ceremonies, pitting Celine Dion against Shania Twain, Avril Lavigne, Nelly Furtado and Alanis Morissette.
The result? A solid 62 per cent of users voted for Twain, while Lavigne was second at 28 per cent. Dion was at seven per cent, while Morissette and Furtado each got just two per cent of votes.
I know she just re-signed a deal to keep singing in Vegas until 2064 or something, but I don’t get the Celine Dion thing. She’s one of those singers that just sticks in my craw, probably because she’s so busy trying to impress me with her vocal range, like most of the kids you see on American Idol. Sure, adapt the song to your own “style,” but don’t try to cover the entire range in 30 seconds, sweetheart. Try a little restraint.
The People magazine bit was fine, but why wouldn’t they put someone like Feist in there instead of Lavigne or Morissette, who hasn’t been heard from in years?
A CHANGE IN THE WEATHER
After just a wee drizzle or two in the past few days, the skies let loose pretty good out here on Wednesday. Not Southern-Ontario-it’s-raining-so-hard-I-can’t-see-out-the-window-we’re-gonna-crash-on-the-401 hard, but reasonably steady. It was great news up on Cypress Mountain, of course, as they’ve short of snow for some time.
But the last thing anyone wants on Friday night is rain, as the fireworks promise to be rather spectacular, and Olympic organizers have promised lots of festivities for folks who can’t afford Opening Ceremony ducats.
While it was snowing on Cypress on Wednesday, the forecast is for substantial rain the next couple days. Which wouldn’t be so great, but likely not fatal to the freestyle events.
There was snow and fog in Whistler Thursday morning, forcing a delay in alpine training. It's still early, but there's a chance the Saturday downhill could get delayed if things don't improve.
CTV, which holds the broadcast rights in
A spokeswoman for the Vancouver Organizing Committee told the Star that a local CTV affiliate in
Spokeswoman Renee Smith-Valade said organizers “trust in the integrity of the host broadcaster to use their judgement in airing that kind of footage.”
She refused to say CTV was punished for the misdeed. But she said organizers yesterday were too busy to conduct any of CTV’s requested interviews. Mind you, she was able to confirm the details of the story in an interview with the Star.
“As more and more international media arrive, it gets busier for us and, regrettably, we were unable to meet all of the media interview requests made of us today.”
Isn’t that a coincidence?
AND MAYBE AN ACADEMY AWARD OR TWO, AS WELL
I missed this, so thanks to Steve Wilson of the Associated Press for pointing out that at one stage of yesterday’s International Olympic Committee meeting (a snorefest if there ever was one), Syrian member Samih Moudallal turned on his microphone and, wait for it, suggested that the IOC should campaign for … the Nobel Peace Prize.
Wilson said a member from Uruguay seemed to agree vociferously with the concept. But IOC president Jacques Rogge, who’s a pretty smart cookie, shook his head.
“Deploying diplomatic activities or lobbying activities would definitely not be in the spirit of this body,” Rogge said. “If something happens, fine, but we are not going to seek that.”
Good call, Jacques. But it still illustrated the incredible arrogance of many IOC members. They keep passing this thing called the Olympic Truce, asking nations lay down their arms during the Olympic Games. It’s a nice thought. But that’s all. So save the rhetoric, IOC, and stick to running your sports games. And try not to have any voting scandals, while you’re at it.
SCHWARZENEGGER SERVED HIS TIME?
Given his history with steroids, there’s been a little fuss out here over Vancouver organizers having invited California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to run the Olympic torch relay on Friday. It DOES seem a little contradictory.
Here’s what IOC spokesman Mark Adams had to say about it Wednesday night:
“I don’t know his history too well, but I presume that his admissions if there were such admissions came 20 or 30 years ago and I think we accept that all people have served time and if they’ve talked about what they’ve done we would accept some concept of rehabilitation so I don’t think that’s particularly a problem. He’s now a very respectable governor of the largest state in the United States so I imagine that we under that circumstance we would be happy to have him carrying the torch.”
TWITTERERS POSTING OPENING CEREMONY PICS
I’ve seen a couple photos on Twitter of what looks to be the rehearsal for Friday’s Opening Ceremony. They look pretty good.
But it’s hard to verify if they’re real. For now, the Star has decided not to publish any.
VANOC spokeswoman Renee Smith-Valade told me last night that folks invited to the rehearsals were asked not to take photos or post them, so as not ruin the surprise. Several photos have been posted on various social networks, but so far they’ve been taken down quickly after organizers pleaded for their removal.
THE GREAT ONE PLAYING COY
Wayne Gretzky was in town yesterday but wouldn’t speak to the media directly. Which only makes everyone all the more sure that he’ll be lighting the torch Friday night at the Opening Ceremony for the Winter Games.
CALLING ATLANTA, CALLING ATLANTA
The Canadian women’s mogul team was twice this week stalled as their bus tried to chug up Cypress Mountain for training.
They had to sit on the bus for half an hour to get replacement buses. Jeff Lee of the Vancouver Sun told me the original buses were city buses from California and that VANOC had to send away for 99 new highway-style buses, presumably less environmentally friendly but likely with a bit more horsepower.
If all else fails, the Atlanta 1996 drivers are probably still available.
Wow. The Vancouver Sun/CanWest team is calling for Canada to win a whopping 39 medals at the Winter Games. Sports Illustrated said 30 (I said 35 earlier; my apologies!), which is far more realistic.
SECRET UNDERWEAR, TOO
We’ve heard a bit about how Canada has its top-secret equipment in use to help Own the Podium and capture the most medals in the coming Winter Olympics. Now I see a quote from Wang Linuo of China, who was asked about the support the Chinese women’s hockey team gets from the government.
“If we did not have good helmets, good equipment, we can't play very good hockey. Because Team Canada has very good pants, shin pads, so light, they skate faster.”