Wilbour Kelsick: Day 1 in Beijing
It's a sunny day here in Beijing and 33 degrees. Believe it or not, I did see some blue sky amongst the foggy haze over the city. The temperature was not unbearably hot or humid. My flight from Singapore was pleasant. The airport arrival was uneventful. Going through immigration, customs and collecting my luggage (they all arrived -Yes!!) was smooth sailing. I have never being through an easier accreditation process. In my case, I had to validate my accreditation (Olympic Passport) entry at the airport. The host volunteers were most polite and helpful. I was directed to the bus which would take me to the village and while I waited a Gentleman came to me and said " Sir this bus will leave in 15min, do you want to wait?" I reply sure I can wait.
And it was a rewarding wait. I was jointed by the Kenyan distance running team. I was wearing red and they were wearing red too...so one Canadian and over 15 Kenyans on the bus…. that was a cool experience. I could imagine the energy in those legs and I can't wait to see them run! It was interesting to talk to first Olympic athlete representing their country. That’s why I love working at the Olympics - you meet so many interesting people.
I arrived at the Athlete Village...and entry was smooth. On to the shuttle bus heading to Tower CI - Canada I. The Canadian Team is hosted in three towers in the C block. There are huge Canadian flags all over the building. There is nothing more welcoming than to see your country’s flag. I felt proud to be a Canadian. The Village is quiet, not too overcrowded and I feel relaxed and excited to be here. There is almost a Zen-like experience in the Canadian quarters – a true reflection of Canada – calm, peaceful and polite.
I settled into my room and checked out our medical clinic, which is a great set up. We have a wellness centre for athletes and staff to relax. You could meditate and do Yoga or just relax. That's a great added feature to the clinic. I was greeted with enthusiasm by my peers.
I went for dinner and the Cafeteria. It is huge, well organized and seats about 5,000. The food is diverse and plentiful. The walk from our residence is very peaceful and not too far, really quite pleasant.
Overall this is a Zen place. The Village is awesome. Its like being in a botanical garden...sounds of crickets, waterfalls ..with walking stone bridges etc. I am totally impressed. I am not surprised, however, as during my first visit here in April things looked really good then too.
Well that's all for the first day in Beijing. I will have a bit more to say as the days go on.
Let the Games begin for Athletics……Canada is coming out to play!!