The following article was also featured on BC Living’s Choose Your Own Adventure.
The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games provided a wonderful social media experiment for me. It all started out with Twitter. My Twitter profile at the time included a reference to electric scooters. The House of Switzerland picked up on this tiny factoid and contacted me via a DM. We carried on a dialog which eventually led to a visit on their opening day. Along with several social media folk, I was granted accreditation to visit the house, report on events during the Olympics, and enjoy Swiss hospitality.
One thing led to another as I joined forces with True North Media House, an initiative by Dave Olson, John Biehler and Kris Krug. This was an engaging way for those interested in covering the games to have a voice, apart from mainstream media. After awhile, a few media badges led to more, and with more badges came opportunities for reporting and networking. I was accredited to a few more pavilions and attended media events for the duration of the Olympics. I also contributed a lot of content to BC Living’s Games Guide, an online magazine focused on covering all aspects of the Olympics, and to their Flickr pool.
Flickr is also home to many local bloggers and account holder activity spiked during the Games.
After the Olympics, tweets started to pour in regarding mainstream media not covering the Paralympic opening ceremony. I was motivated even further to get out there and cover a major event underrepresented in the sporting world.
It was easier to get accredited for the Paralympics than to the Olympic games. The International Paralympic Committee granted me a badge at the last minute and off I went, covering sledge hockey, wheelchair curling, and various Alpine events in Whistler. The closing ceremony was brilliant despite the downpour.
The entire Whistler village witnessed a procession of athletes make their way to the Whistler Medals Plaza, where miraculously, the rain stopped for the duration. It was great to see Whistler take the stage for the final event of the Winter Games. Previously there had been discussion about whether to hold the medal ceremonies in Whistler. Luckily a decision was made to keep medal ceremonies there after athletes completed their final events.
Not only were the Paralympic Games more budget-friendly, but the athletes and families were easily approachable and grateful for the interest and attention bestowed upon them.
I made a lot of friends and business connections during both the Olympics and Paralympics. Seeing the entire event unfold from a different perspective was an eye-opening experience. Not having to queue for any event or pavilion made this a dream experience for anyone with enough energy to keep ahead of the crowd for several days on end.
At last count, my Olympics memorabilia includes
12 media and event badges
225 245 Olympic and Paralympic pins
8 USB sticks
Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremony items
Paralympic Media Kit
1 pair red Olympic mittens
1 Olympic sweater
1 blue DEVO energy dome hat
1 closing ceremony antlers
3 Olympic mascots
4,311 photos (whittled down from several hundred more)
and countless memories