Monday, February 24, 2014

Russia Day 7: The Gold Medal Game and Closing Ceremonies

I had a relaxing morning, going back to sleep again after waking early, and got up for good just before noon. It was good to catch up on some sleep! The two Canadian women (mother and daughter) staying at my hotel had a line on 2 extra tickets for the gold medal game tonight, and there was a nice Swedish couple who wanted them. The daughter, Jen, was going out of her way to make the deal, and get the tickets to the Swedes.

I headed into the Olympic Park well before game time. It didn't seem like there was much ticket trading going on today, but even so, the gold medal game was not completely sold out. In Russia! I was astounded, especially considering that the Bolshoi Ice Dome only seats about 12,000 people.

I got to my seat, way up in the 400 level at the top of the arena. I was sitting just to the left of the CNC broadcast booth, and saw Ron McClean, Don Cherry and Kelly Hrudey. The Canadian Elvises were right near me as well: 4 guys dressed in white pant suits with "CANADA" down the leg, a large red maple leaf on the back, and elvis wigs and fake microphones. They had some cute dance moved prepared for whatever music the arena sound system was playing, and cheered things like "Price is Right!" after good saves by Cary Price. There were plenty of Canadian fans around me (far more than Swedish fans), and I was sharing some tape I brought to help others secure their Canadian flags. While doing this I noticed that Jen and her mother Heidi were in the next section. I've had a lot of "small world" experiences like that this week, bumping into the same people (mostly Canadians, but others too) time after time.

The game started off with Sweden holding the edge in play at first, but gradually the tide turned, and after Canada got their first goal in the first period, we started to dominate more and more. The second goal (on Sidney Crosby's breakaway) made us feel secure, and after the third goal it was all over. It was a great ending to the competition for Canada, and the medal ceremony (strangely missing the Finnish bronze medal winners) was sweet.

After the hockey game I headed to Fisht stadium, to see if there were any cheap tickets to the closing ceremonies to be had. Tickets for that were pretty pricey, but based on what I had seen all week, it seemed there was a small chance I might pick up something for $100. However, prices seemed to be close to face value, so I decided to head back to my hotel to watch the closing ceremonies on TV. But as I headed out, a couple of Canadian guys approached me and asked if I needed a ticket. They had found one on the ground. There didn't seem to be any way to turn it in or get it back to whoever lost it, so I took it (they were giving it away), and went into the stadium. That's not the end to this story though. After taking my seat I decided to grab a bite to eat, and on my return I found a backpack on the seat. The woman in the next seat said that they had lost their ticket and had it replaced. She called one of the volunteers over, who asked me where I got the ticket. I told her what happened, and she scolded me for buying a ticket from a non-official source. Apparently it was possible to cancel a ticket and get it replaced if lost, which surprised me. She told me my ticket was not valid, as it had been cancelled. I said it seemed pretty valid when the ticket scanning machine admitted me. In the end she found me another seat, in the front row of the same section. I felt badly for a while, wondering if I had done the wrong thing, but in the end the family that lost their ticket got it replaced, I didn't take anyone's seat from them, and there were empty seats in the stadium, so there was plenty of room to accommodate me. I enjoyed the closing ceremonies, but I think they are easier to take in on TV, as the huge majestic staging can be a little overwhelming and hard to absorb, especially if your viewing angle isn't just right for some of the effects. I watched much of it on the large screens in the stadium.

I left the park after the ceremonies, and back at the hotel met up with Heidi and Jen (who are from Brandon, Manitoba), for a few drinks at the bar, before getting to bed very late.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi John - I've been reading your posts, thanks!