Olympic Blog: Spontaneous Inukshuks
National Geographic had more than one correspondent at the Vancouver Games this year. Taylor Kennedy works for National Geographic Images Sales out of Vancouver, and gives us a local’s perspective.
I wasn’t expecting everyone to be having so much fun on the streets at the Olympics.
I’ve only ever watched the Olympics on TV–which means listening to medal counts, backstories on the Olympians, hearing about how much the athletes have struggled to get there, etc., etc.
In person, the Games are a totally different scene. Everyone is walking around happy and excited to be there to witness these athletes at their sport…and spontaneously building things too, apparently.
The Pacific Ocean waterfront is just outside BC Place, where the hockey games and opening and closing ceremonies are held. Among the rocks that line that sheltered bay there are now hundreds of inukshuks (the symbol of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games) that have been constructed by passing fans. Someone started with one, and now there are tons of them all over the place poking up into the sky. They range in size from pretty big stones built by big burly dudes in hockey jerseys to little ones built out of pebbles by kids, and the chant repeated by them all is “Oh! Careful! Don’t knock that one over!” as they carefully step between the constructions already there.
I have to admit that this warm fuzziness everyone was showing was not at all what I was expecting, particularly at what was supposed to be a big and very competitive sporting event. In fact, even the hockey game I went to was cozy. Where was the blood thirst? Warm and fuzzy hockey!?
- Nat Geo Expeditions
At the Norwegian-Swiss earlier match earlier this week, the TV announcer made the rounds finding Swiss fans and Norwegian fans in the audience to talk to about their countries on the Jumbotron. When he bumped into a pretty young Norwegian woman with a gaggle of little kids next to her, she introduced herself as the wife of one of the Norwegian players. “Oh, how sweet,” I thought cynically scoffing at the choice of interviewees–let’s tug at the heartstrings on this one. But then this husband/father went on to score three points during the game. At each point, they zoomed in on the family as they jumped around, holding up signs saying “Go Dad!!” Then the camera zoomed in on the dad as he looking up at his family on the big screen and stood, smiling with pride and happiness. It all felt, well, cozy. At a hockey game!
Photos: Taylor Kennedy