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Saturday, February 13, 2010
Misadventures in Olympic coverage


WHISTLER, British Columbia -- Someone is a moron. And, as is usually the case, it's likely me.

I was finishing up a column on the luge track reopening in the media center at Whistler about 10:50 this morning, when I looked up and saw a hand-written sign by the help desk informing us the women's downhill training run was set for 11. Needing to see how Lindsey Vonn would do, I finished up the luge story as quickly as I could, gathered my laptop and gear into my backpack and dashed off to the shuttle bus to the downhill venue at Creekside. Fortunately, the shuttle left right away and had me at Creekside by 11:25.

A volunteer met me when I stepped off the shuttle. I asked her, "Where is the media center?" She said, "Ohhhhhhhhh!" in the sort of outrageously thick Canadian accent that you only hear when people do a very bad impersonation of Canadians. "I don't know. Let me find out." I said, "Is it right through this door?" She said no. We walked down to the end of the block and she asked a security guard where the press center was. He said he didn't know. I said I just wanted to get to the media substation at the end of the downhill course. The volunteer said in that case, I needed to walk up "that path" and pointed across the street.

The path got steeper and steeper the longer I walked on it, which was quite a way. I asked a security guard where the media center was and he said he didn't know. But he did say I was going the right way to the end of the course. I could see it, and it not only looked far away, it looked high. I walked up the ever-increasing slope for about a quarter-mile, at which point I came to an abrupt end. Disgusted, I turned around and stomped like a petulant child all the way back to the bottom, cursing the volunteer who misdirected me.

There, a hotel employee said I should just take the ski lift up and that the entrance was across the street. Which, of course, was right where the bus dropped me off. So I went over there and made my way through the security screening (did I mention I had my backpack with me)? After that, I hiked up to the chair lift and took it up to the finish area.

At which point I was told the training run was scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday.