Olympic Updates: Day 1

This is my third time at an Olympic Winter Games. I attended the first two as a “civilian.” As an accredited member of the media, my experience has been completely different.

Mostly because I get to wear a cool press pass that lets me into really cool places.

Another reason my experience has been different is I lived in the previous two Olympic cities and had never experienced the frenetic pace of the airport. When I touched down in rainy Vancouver on Thursday morning, I was greeted with scenes like this:

I have no idea who the Russian athlete was that they were filming.

Just that he was a wee bit important.

Turquoise-clad volunteers practically outnumbered the travelers and they helped me follow a maze of signs through the parking lot to where I caught a media shuttle to my hotel. After dropping off my luggage, I hopped on another media shuttle to the train. I met Microsoft Office’s PR rep, Krista, outside of the Main Press Centre where I received my official accreditation.

From there, we lunched across from the famed Gastown Steam Clock.

At least that is the assumption I made, given the number of people snapping pictures like it was some famous Russian athlete.

The Home I Want Away From Home

That afternoon, Krista and I attended the housewarming party of the Proctor and Gamble Family Home. P&G took their sponsorship of Team USA further than most. Instead of just hosting a center for athletes to congregate, they created a four-story home where athletes, their families and friends can gather.

The centerpiece of their Olympic campaign? Thanking mothers. P&G reached out to all 250 athletes on the U.S. Olympic Team and extended financial support so they would be able bring their mom (or other family member) to cheer them on at the Games. P&G then debuted a couple of their “Proud sponsor of mom” commercials.

Warning: they are exactly the kind of ads that I curse because they reduce me to a blubbering fool.

The media and several members of Team USA were then unleashed to experience the Proctor and Gamble Family Home. Krista and I received hand massages at the beauty and grooming salon day spa that also offered Cover Girl makeovers, Venus and Oil of Olay leg therapy and masseurs.

We sampled 24 flavors of chips at the Pringles snack lounge, I made my own Pringles label for my kids and we watched the athletes rock out to Rock Band on the Wii.

We visited the children’s play area at Pampers village, which was cool enough to almost make me wish I had my little ones with me. Krista and I ended our sojourn at the P&G Family Home by visiting the Crest and Oral B “Smile Room” where, transposed against a winter background wearing Olympic garb, we smiled.

Kinda funny how that works.

Friday is the first official day of the 2010 Vancouver Games and there will be plenty more smiles where those came from as we watch the torch relay.

The most exciting news of all: I was secured a ticket to watch the Opening Ceremonies in the press box with Kevin Neunendorf, Public Relations Manager of the USOC. Stay tuned!

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