Chasing the dream: Olympics-bound author shares some tips
By: Lisa Green
It's always been a dream of mine to attend an Olympics. I'd grown up glued to the tube through Mark Spitz, U.S. Hockey's “Miracle on Ice,” Mary Lou Retton and Dorothy Hamill. I'd witnessed the horror of Munich, along with years of international camaraderie and peaceful competition. It was now time to be there. In 2008 — the summer Olympics in Beijing — I got my wish. And it was an incomparable experience.
After the political strife and polarization of recent years, it was fantastic to be able to once again feel proud to be American, and to support our great athletes. Their accomplishments were unprecedented. The Chinese were gracious and accommodating hosts. And the people I met from all over the world were warm, friendly, accepting and fun. It was hard not to feel as though we were living inside of John Lennon's “Imagine.” To have participated in this was a life-affirming experience, and it made me wonder why I'd waited so long to fulfill the dream.
The 2010 Olympics — in Vancouver from February 12-28 — presents another opportunity to cheer on and party with the world at the Winter Games in Vancouver. It can certainly seem daunting to try to put together a trip of this nature: To get flights, lodging and transportation; and then try to find tickets to the events you really want to see. But researching online and pursuing all available resources can make this dream come true. It's not too late!
First, if you don't want to do the digging yourself, why not talk to a travel agent. Suzi Mirus at Summit Travel in Frisco (firstname.lastname@example.org) is highly knowledgeable and resourceful. Next, check into any points or mileage you've accumulated to possibly defray some airfare, lodging or car rental expenses. Commercial flights can be booked at www.travelocity.com or www.expedia.com, or any of the airlines' websites. And fares have been dropping.
Lodging can vary widely in price and be a bit challenging to settle. Accommodations in and around Whistler will be the most costly. If you have a nice ski-town home, you might consider participating in a home exchange with someone near Vancouver (www.homeexchange.com). If you have a vehicle, there are many small towns surrounding Vancouver, and south toward Seattle; and many options within that, ranging from a friend's couch to hostels, motels, hotels, condos, B&Bs and homes. As it gets closer to the opening ceremonies, the availability of rooms will dwindle, but the prices will drop significantly as well. Check out the usual hotel and travel websites, as well as www.vrbo.com.
Event tickets are the final hurdle. The official schedule is available at www.vancouver2010.com. Each event is listed by date, time and description of which rounds are in that session. Check here first to find the events you most want to see before making travel arrangements.
The official ticket supplier to the U.S. is www.Cosport.com, although they have suspended ticket sales until mid-January. If there are events you just can't miss, reputable ticket brokers are a good alternative. The site — www.Ticketcity.com
— is a great resource, and they'll have onsite offices in Vancouver as well. Expect to pay well above face value for premier events. eBay is another spot to check. Tickets for the less popular sports are often easier and cheaper to find, and can ultimately be the most unique and entertaining. In China there was a brisk street trade of tickets happening outside of the events, which will likely be the case in Vancouver.