Hope this finds you in good health- I’ve finally finished the blog post about my Olympics experience! Thanks again for all the support- fitterfirst has really helped me (especially with the wobble board and my ankle strength!!!)
My time in Vancouver was an absolutely life-altering experience. I arrived on the 2nd of February and stayed in Richmond to train until a few days before the Opening Ceremonies. While in Richmond I was in a “Speed Skate Canada” house with three other teammates… we had a lot of fun and really bonded (usually over dinner- our favorite being sushi) as we were all so excited for what was to come. The Oval was completely renovated and felt as though it was a stadium; it was a huge change from the Oval we had gotten used to! When the media lights were turned on, a certain energy would instantly turn on… and getting into “race mode” was effortless. This truly was the “big leagues”.
When we arrived in the Village, it was an incredibly surreal moment. I was rooming with my teammates , Brittany Schussler, and Tamara Oudenaarden, however Cindy and Brittany stayed in their own Condos (in Richmond- to be closer to the Oval) so Tamara and I had a huge 5 million dollar condo to ourselves! We were on the fifth floor and our rooms overlooked the beautiful harbor. When we got our large duffle bag of goodies, we honestly felt like it was Christmas. Trust me, if you can imagine a five year old waking up on Christmas morning- this is how all of the Canadian athletes were acting. I was a lucky one and the majority of my clothes fit like a glove (Cindy on the other hand got all XL clothes and everything had to be taken in!)
The coolest part about the athlete’s village (aside from the multimillion dollar condos) was our Canadian Athlete’s lounge (or what we called, “The Penthouse”). It was a massive condo located on the top of our Condo building in which was approximately twelve million dollars! It was equipped with TV’s, computers, a kitchen (with great food!), foos-ball, and ping pong (which was a huge hit with everyone- especially a few famous hockey players!) It was a place in which all Canadian athletes felt at home and could just chill out. I will always remember watching the gold medal hockey game with the rest of the Canadian Team and screaming when Crosby- who we had all been playing ping-pong with- scored the winning goal. We all ran to the balcony and heard all of Vancouver exploding with pride.
I raced on the 16th of February and unfortunately, I really don’t remember much of my actual races. The energy within the building was infectious and the noise level was truly deafening. Skating around the oval and having 8000 Canadian fans screaming and cheering you on is a feeling that is impossible to accurately describe. It was such a powerful moment that I almost felt as though I was going to cry. The outcome of both of my races were solid, but weren’t necessarily classified as “home runs”. I had a plan in my head and I managed to stick to it and execute, so on that level, I was proud of myself because I didn’t let my nerves/the overwhelming feeling get the best of me. The results of my races also lit a competitive fire within my skating that I didn’t know I was missing… I saw my competitors and with somewhat of a smile on my face I thought to myself, “I can do that. I can be there…” which is really nice because I fed off of my competition and was inspired by their results.
The Olympics were the time of my life. Truly, it was a magical experience in which was completely different from what I was expecting. It was amazing seeing all of the world’s best athletes and simply eating with them in the Dining Centre. The feeling of world-wide unity that was produced from the Games was humbling, inspiring, and truly life-changing. I got to experience not only the pinnacle of my sport but also the best of other Winter Olympic sports. I saw my short track friends win medals, Joannie Rochette’s inspiring short program, and experienced the Canada/Slovakia game with Heather Moyse and Kaillie Humphries in the COC executive box. It was a whirlwind of emotion and experience and I will remember it for the rest of my life.
I have been skating since I was 4 years old and it has been a long and tedious journey into getting where I am today. I am excited and looking forward to the future of my sport and up to the 2014 games. Without the support of such organizations as Fitterfirst, I truly wouldn’t be half of the skater that I am today. The support and unity I felt with not only my sponsors, family, friends, teammates, Calgary, but also the whole of Canada, made the 2010 Olympics the greatest time of my life.
Anastasia Bucsis July 2010