So today was a pretty basic day, I woke up around 6:30 to get a run in before the trip over to china, after my run I packed up the rest of my stuff, showered, checked my email and cleaned up our room. At 9:15 we headed outside to take some team pictures in front of the Dojo which kinda back fired because the lenses on our cameras kept fogging up due to the fact that they were kept in an air conditioned room, and then brought outside into the humidity and heat. I think we only managed to get a couple really good ones at BUDO, but there will be a lot more opportunities later on in the trip. After the pictures it was onto the bus and off to the airport. Once arriving at the airport in Tokyo everything seemed to run smoothly, our only little speed bump was checking in as a team - BAD IDEA. It took them about 1 hour to figure out how to check us in – which was a little frustrating because it is suppose to be easier for Olympians, seeing how we don’t have to wait in any lines(would have been faster to wait in line) but I guess they didn’t check in any other teams yet, either way we were on time for our flight and took off for china at 3pm.
Upon arrival in china things got a lot easier, there were people waiting for us to take us to customs where we had our own line, “Olympic lane” – which is used for athletes and accredited staff/media. After that we went to get our accreditation validated(right at the airport) – which means scanned in, myself and Keith had to wait until we got to the athletes village to do this because they had the wrong passport numbers on the back of our accreditation, not really a big deal!
So everything for this Olympics was built new, even the airport – and the size of this airport in unbelievable, after getting our accreditation taken care of we headed off to get our luggage, which was in another terminal. Normally to get to another terminal at a big airport by train takes about 1min however at this airport it took about 8min on the train to get to where our luggage was, oh yeah and the train is Bombardier :P – I think I spelled that right. After getting off the train we were met by a staff member of the Canadian Olympic team who gave us some drinks and helped us get our bags and get onto the bus heading to the village. Little fact - the new airport only cost 4 Billion dollars to make.
Speaking about money I forgot to mention a funny story at the start of the trip, Pat one of our media guys working for CBC goes to change the money that Judo Canada gave him into Japanese yen. So when he gets there he finds out one of the 100$ bills was FAKE. The lady actually gave the bill back to Pat and said he could keep it – when Pat told us the story we decided to see if we could tell the difference between a real one and a fake one. It’s actually pretty crazy when you’re looking at the fake bill by its self it looks as real as any other bill, but when you compare it to a real 100$ bill, and held it up to the light etc, we found where all the mistakes were. But still it’s pretty crazy because Ewan got those from the bank the day before leaving for Japan, meaning the bank got fooled!
Ok where was I, oh yeah, so after getting on to the bus we were off to the Athletes village which took about 40min, once getting to the village we were greeted by about 20 volunteers/Olympic staff, these staff members wouldn’t let us carry our bags, wouldn’t even let us take them off the bus, actually to tell you the truth the next time I saw my bags was when I got to my room about 20min later. Let me explain the size of the Village and how many people stay here. There are 16,000 people staying in the village, and there are 18,000 staff who are just there to help out the athletes, so that means there are 34,000 people in the village which is about 6 times the population of my home town Perth!!
So Far in my books China has done an outstanding job, Keith having gone to 4 Olympics even said the same thing. Well after we got settled in our rooms we went down stairs for a little introduction meeting – basically saying welcome to the village here is where everything is – Cafeteria, international zone, stuff like that. After our meet and greet we got a bunch of free stuff given to us - A cell phone that we can use to call anywhere in the world for free(which we get to keep and bring home with us) it sucks though because I just bought a new phone like the week before coming here lol. Anyways we also received some gifts and a whole lot of free random stuff like toiletries, pins, postcards and stuff like that. Another cool thing that we got was this coke card, which we can use to get free drinks on any coke machine outside of the village if we are thirsty, we just have to swipe the card and out comes a free drink. Tomorrow we are also going to go and get this free t-shirt from Coke, made from recycled coke bottles – yeah don’t ask me how they make a shirt from bottles – but I want one haha. Tomorrow we are also getting fitted for our team gear, and will check out the rest of the athletes village.
Your probably thinking right now, WOW how lucky are these guys, well we are lucky – but at the same time Canada and other countries get nowhere near the crazy treatment the USA team gets, to put it into perspective the US team bought their own university in Beijing.. BOUGHT and probably put millions of dollars into it for their athletes to train in a separate place. Crazy eh!! Well you should see how many sponsors they have and what kinda clothes they get and you would understand what the word spoiled means :P, but hey, they win the most medals at each Olympics, so they get the best!
Tonight the only place we got a chance to check out was the cafeteria, which is open 24hrs a day, with all types of different food from around the world. I am pretty sure a lot of people already know this but everything in the village is FREE, we don’t have to pay for anything which is also a bonus. Oh yeah and I got to meet Dirk Novinski from the Dallas Mavericks – NBA player, I got a picture with him – wow this guy is so tall, the Olympics is crazy with how many different body types you see! Anyways after we ate we just relaxed a bit and went to bed.