Friday, February 23, 2018

Winding down

I’m sitting in the Alpensia Resort Grand Ballroom, which has doubled as the Main Press Center’s workroom for the past two weeks. I’ve spent a lot of time here over the last 15 days, but as I write this on Saturday afternoon, I will be heading out of the resort for the final time.
I still have another 20 hours or so before I have to get on a bus and then a train and then a plane back to the United States. I still plan on seeing at least one more event, hopefully two if I can swing it. But those events will be down in the Gangneung Area, meaning I will leave the mountain cluster in PyeongChang for the final time when I board the TM26 bus in a short while to head back to my apartment.
The PyeongChang mountain cluster was a great location for the Winter Olympics. While two of the venues, Phoenix Snow Park and Jeongseon Alpine Center, were a good distance away from the Main Press Center, most of the venues were a short bus ride away and the mountain cluster itself was a much shorter bus ride from the coastal cluster than we had in Sochi four years ago.
It’s been said that this was the most compact Winter Olympics on record and I’d believe that, at least from my small amount of experience. I spent less time on the bus here than I did in Sochi, and I count that as a win.
As I prepare to leave the mountain cluster for the final time, I should note that this was the site of some of my favorite moments of the Olympic Games. Seeing Red Gerard throw down a monster run on his final chance in the snowboard slopestyle. Watching Annalisa Drew finish just short of a medal in skiing halfpipe. Watching the shocking performance from Ester Ledecka winning the downhill. Seeing Chloe Kim absolutely blow up the competition in her qualifying runs. Seeing Sean Doherty compete in three different biathlon events and put up an impressive performance in his final event of the Games. Watching Sarah Hendrickson jump in an Olympics for likely the last time, a pioneer of the women’s ski jumping movement taking one more run down the ramp. And of course, seeing Lindsey Vonn, the greatest female alpine skier of all time, do her thing in likely her final Olympics.
There were many great moments here in the mountain cluster of PyeongChang and I’m glad I had the chance to be here and experience them all. This experience I thought was once in a lifetime four years ago was even more incredible the second time around.
Now, it’s off to catch TM26 and head back to the apartment. Maybe do a little laundry and get some dinner before another event tonight.

 The Main Press Center has been a large part of my life the last few weeks. Today was my last day there.

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