Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics

So after spending a week in Seoul, Scott and I spent the next 5 days in the mountains riding shuttle buses (and occasionally going to Olympic events).

Feb 14, 2018

Buses: 6     Taxis: 3     Trains: 1    Subway: 1

Events attended: mens curling round robin

This was a rough day because we had to bring our bags from our hotel in Seoul to our hotel in Donghae via Gangneung, then go back to Gangneung for curling, and then we tried taking the free shuttle back to Donghae afterwards. O_O

Curling was cool though. We had great seats, and Canada won!

Scott got interviewed by the Washington Post. He now likes to tell everyone he’s a nationally quoted curling expert. (PS there are two quotes guys!!).

Feb 15, 2018

Buses: 3     Taxis: 2

Events attended: mens hockey CAN v SUI

We were supposed to go to mens Super G in the morning too but it ended up being way too windy up in the mountains so the event got postponed. I was pretty relieved to not have to get up super early to get to the mountains tbh, since it took us soooo long to get back to our hotel the night before on the free shuttle. We would have died. Anyway instead we watched mens skeleton heat 1 & 2 in bed at the hotel, and then leisurely headed back to Gangneung to spend the day at Canada House before hockey.

Canada House was so cool! We got there in time to watch the ladies hockey CAN vs USA game, which obviously everyone was super in to. It was stressful, but Canada won. They had Canadian food and drinks, and even gave out free poutine in the afternoon. We saw lots of athletes, like Tessa Virtue, Alexandre Bilodeau, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford (everyone cheered when they came in), and Jeremiah Brown (rower).

Hockey was good. Our original tickets were SOOOOO HIGH UP OMG. We had like a vertical view of the rink, haha. It wasn’t very full though so about half way through the game we moved much closer to the ice.

After a few minutes in our new seats I realized that we were sitting directly in front of Jennifer Jones and Kevin Koe (and the rest of the mens curling team). They were friendly.

Canada dominated. We won 5-1.

We decided to not bother with trying to use the free shuttle back to Donghae and instead took a very long taxi because #yolo. Well really we had ‘saved’ money by getting a hotel so far away (possibly not the best idea in retrospect) so it was fine. A million thank yous to the Olympic volunteers who helped us get a taxi since we couldn’t use any of the taxi apps without a Korean phone number.

Feb 16, 2018

Buses: 6     Taxis: 2     Trains: 1

Events attended: mens skeleton heat 3 & 4, womens skeleton heat 1 & 2

Another big day. We had to get up early and head into the mountains after very little sleep for mens skele, then kill 8 hours, and stay out late for womens skele. AND THEN do the epic journey from the mountains back to our hotel.

There were no spectator shuttles to the top of the track so we had to hike up… TWICE!!! We did 160 flights of stairs that day, omg. It was exhausting, but being at the start was so fun. We cheered and yelled and cowbell’d for everyone until our throats ached.

Tired but very excited at the sliding track.

The mens race was a bit of a runaway. Yun Sung-Bin is an excellent slider AND had home track advantage, so he dominated. The crowd was SO HYPED for him, which was cool to see.

Martins Dukurs had a rough race. He was in 3rd position after the first day, moved up to 2nd on run three, and then made a mistake and dropped out of the medals to 4th on his final run. I was heartbroken for him. A Russian (who also competed in Sochi but somehow managed to not get caught for cheating like every single other one of his teammates) got silver, and GB got bronze which was a bit of a surprise.

We had a lot of time to wait until the ladies race so we checked out the Pyeongchang Olympic Plaza. The sponsors had giant exhibits, many of which involved VR, which I had never tried before. This one was kinda fun, you had to use the gun to shoot down these flying thingies while dodging getting hit yourself. We also went to a hologram K-pop concert, haha.

We also went to the Olympic Superstore, which was super huge and super crowded. I got a Soohoorang skeleton t-shirt and we got a few pins and magnets too. Everything was so cute!

We spent the rest of the time in the Bing Bong Bing Bong food tent, as I like to call it, until it was time to head back to the sliding centre.

Look who we found!! Rob was my skeleton coach in Whistler a few years ago. Since then he’s been coaching the small nations on the World Cup circuit, and was coaching Australia for the Olympics. So cool to see old friends.

Ladies skeleton was funnnnn. It was a much closer race than the mens, and it was impossible to tell who was going to win after day 1.

Feb 17, 2018

Buses: 4     Taxis: 2     Trains: 1

Events attended: womens skeleton heat 3 & 4

I think I slept in until 2pm this day. We were so exhausted we just ate McDonald’s in bed and watched Olympics on tv/tablet/laptop ALL MORNING and AFTERNOON. It was glorious.

Eventually we headed back to the sliding centre. There was tons of traffic so we didn’t get there in time to hike up to the start area, so instead we watched in the crowds at various corners of the track. It was packed, again. It’s so amusing how everyone gasps and screams and cheers as the sliders fly past. I sort of forgot how skeleton looks to the layperson, who is just amazed by the speed and not analyzing the lines and such. The excitement is contagious.

Although the Canadian girls didn’t finish quite as high up on the list as I thought they might, I’m still so so proud of them. They each had some fantastic runs throughout the competition and some excellent start times. I loved watching all of them.

Currently wearing three pairs of pants, three shirts, and three heat packs. :D

Feb 18, 2018

Buses: 1(!)     Taxis: 2     Trains: 1     Subway: 1

Events attended: womens curling round robin

Our last day in the Olympic area. :( We dropped our bags at the train station, spent the day in the Gangneung Olympic Park, and then took the train back to Seoul.

We only had to take one bus today!!! Because you could walk from the train station to the Olympic Park (this was the view on the walk). It would have been extremely useful to know that everything was super convenient by train. All the shuttle buses were train-centric. It probably would have been cheaper and easier to just stay in Seoul the entire time and just take the train every day than stay in our love hotel in Donghae. Ah well though, there was no way of knowing that ahead of time, and I am still so thankful for Jinnie saving our butts and helping us find any kind of hotel at all.

Our last event was ladies curling. The Canadian ladies weren’t doing so hot, although they did win this game. The Korean girls were doing very well though and because of that the place was PACKED. Actually we could barely even see anything because our seats weren’t that good and the Korean fans were going bananas. Everyone kept leaning forwards and moving around. I don’t think anyone was actually sitting in their real seats. Once they finished their game though EVERYONE left and we could watch the last few ends of our game in peace.

And that was that! Olympic time over. It was SO TIRING, but extremely fun. We learned a lot, so our next Olympics will be better. ;) Calgary 2026 perhaps?

PS that popcorn had four different flavours in it! And the beer was only $4!

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