28 March 2006

Paralympics revisited

Paralympics Revisited

The Olympics are truly over now that the Paralympics have come and gone. Someone asked me if the Paralympics visitors were as exciting of a group as the Olympics.
Well, I would have to say there was no comparison really, as it was a much smaller amount of people, but certainly an action packed week as well. Through out the 9 days, we had a number of Spain's down hill visually impaired team's family members, ex wives, husbands, guides, guides families, girlfriends, fiances who hadn't met their future father in law till breakfast, guide's girlfriends, and boyfriends, and even one of the competitors, who took silver and bronze medals.
We were never quite sure how many people were staying due to short notice bookings and ever changing set of circumstances.
We had a last minute (and I do mean last minute, 4 hours notice) luncheon for 17 Spanish competitors family members, complete with a bit of snow to spice up the goings ons.

Coordinating groups, especially in different languages and
getting the particulars concrete, is never a straight forward task, let alone in English, Italian, Spanish and a bit of French to boot, least we should forget Catalanyan from the ones who thought we understood everything.
It was another wonderful experience if not a little less grand scale than before, but just enough drama to keep it spiced up. The tv coverage of the games was quite sparse, and the change of the closing ceremonies from the stadium to medals plaza with no Italian TV coverage, was appalling. A smal local French station showed it in it's entirety as well as the games themselves thru ought the week. Rai television should really be ashamed of it's lack of interest! Our local evening news reports were quite inspiring as the enthusiasm was quite palpable. It was fantastic to see the venues packed, unlike the regular Olympics.
I think the 12 euro ticket prices might have had something to do with it, and the fact that many Italians had stayed away from the games believing the crowds and prices to be prohibitive.
You can thank the IOC and TOROC for those Olympic prices. You could hear the cheering that was sometimes missing from the regular Olympics due to lack of sufficient numbers of people and perhaps because a lot of the crowds for the Paralymics were school children. It seems the schools took the children to experience many of the events. That was great to see, especially their enthusiasm and high spirits. The effort and sacrifice for the Paralympians is no less great than the regular Olympians and their families, so it was great to see the crowds and local spirit that we know resides here!




08 March 2006

March 8, 2006 Festa Della Donna

Festa Delle Donna has come and gone on March 8th
Funny, it is, I believe, International Women's Day.
It was on this day, March 8th, in 1884 that Susan B. Anthony addressed the United States Congress, arguing for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote. She said, "We appear before you this morning ... to ask that you will, at your earliest convenience, report to the House in favor of the submission of a Sixteenth Amendment to the Legislatures of the several states, that shall prohibit the disfranchisement of citizens of the United States on account of sex."
Excerpted from the Writer's Almanac.

Yet, this isn't a day that is celebrated in the US. Apparently, it is recognised by the UN and we know how mercurical our country can sometimes be with it's realtionship to the UN.
Here in Italy, it's a golden opportunity to wine and dine all your favorite women whether they're colleagues or family members. The tradition includes a gift of yellow mimosa, which again I've never seen the states, but is a lovel fragrant flower. Actually it's the flowering end of the mimosa tree. After your favorite ladies have been given mimosa or lovely yellow flowers, (I received a yellow begonia plant as well) then meals out or other treats are widely popular and not unlike Valentines or secretary's day. I enjoyed the celebration, but was as surprised as everyone else here, that it isn't even acknowledged in the good ole USA.
We must have enough floral and dinner holidays already penciled in!

Post Olympic Musings

Hello from Olympic land,

I have not dropped off the face of the earth, but have quickly gotten out of the email habit. I have been recovering from a lot of long days and short nights that started long before the games actually began and basking in the afterglow of the post Olympics. After feeling like I was literally chained to the computer up until the Olympics started, I quickly relinquished that role since then. The emails and inquiries have all but stopped except for a hardy few who are joining us for the Paralympics this week. Well, actually they have joined us.
We have managed to stay busy in spite of it all. The first few days we just caught up on laundry, cleaning, rearranging, and sleep.

Fabrizio is recovering from towing everyone out of the snow and giving lessons on putting on chains and driving in snowy conditions.
Those late nights and early mornings took their toll.

It was all worth it, every bit of it.

It was an enchanting 2 weeks. It was so wonderful to get to not only meet all the people that I had been corresponding with, but to get to know all the people that were staying with us, better as well. Colorado was well represented, and we had attracted all the English speakers that found accommodation hard to come by. We had so many competitors’ families here and it was exciting even if they did not all get medals.

Our Norwegians son, Jens Arne Svartedal, won a silver medal and they sent us a picture of them with the prince of Norway whom they met while he was here for the games.

We had so many visitors up here and lots of updates on what everyone was doing and even a little bit of the Olympics in as well.

It was wall to wall people in Torino and you could hardly move along the streets. All the Italians were out for the passegiata and everyone was trying to see and feel the Olympics before it was over. It was truly amazing to see that many people in Torino. I loved it and I'm not wild about crowds, but it was a spectacle worth experiencing. The closing ceremonies were so emotional and exciting. I loved every minute of it. It was so great to have so many nationalities here and lots of friendly competition. It was just an incredible atmosphere the whole 2 weeks.

World peace seemed possible.

Now that we've had a bit of time to regroup and recoup, the Italians are coming back. We have had a steady stream of the hosts who have come over, visit, and tell Olympic stories as well. I think one of the best things have not only been all of the people that I become friendly with thru the Olympics from abroad, but all the local people that we have become friends with thru all of this for such a variety of reasons. It really has been a broadening experience in a number of ways. Then we have our road worker friends and assorted locals coming to catch up with us and relive the Olympic experiences again. There are still many stories to tell and pictures to get on the web and on a cd, and on and on, so I have my work cut out for me.

We now have the Paralympics here. We have a Spanish family staying with us whose daughter, Alba is a blind competitor for the Spanish downhill team. Alba's guide, Anna's family are staying with us next weekend. So we have a new nationality that has visited us here at Bella Baita here in the official site of the Olympic mountians here in our part of the Italian Alps.

Marla & Fabrizio Too


04 March 2006

Olympics are over and the spirit lives on March 04, 2006

We have recovered from lack of sleep and many exciting chaining up and getting up our hill experiences, but we haven't recovered from the warm glow of friendships forged over cappuccinos and pastries. What a wonderful time the Torino 2006 winter were. What a great variety of people we met, renewed old friendships and enjoyed watching a bit of Olympic competition live and in the Olympia meeting room on the semi big screen.We were always having a daily update from the steady stream of people in the morning over breakfast, thru out the day, and into the night about the latest challenge. Sometimes, it was the actual Olympic Games we were catching up on, and often it was the getting there and back and the final trek up the hill on foot, by taxi or chain’em up and get’em up adventures. We met so many competitors families, who had worked so hard to get their loved one here and to not only see them compete, but enjoy a bit of local scenery, cuisine and camaraderie. Someone said it was the eating Olympics as well.

Ah, the flavors of Italy still here to be discovered or resampled at a later date.

Vi aspettiamo.
(We're waiting for you
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