Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - Perspective
Racing in Seefeld: An update from the battle ground

- By: Shayla Swanson

Unfortunately, friday the 14th,sprint daymarked a day of mass surrender for team Canada. Despite a strong showing by all, placing in the top 16 and advancing to the final heats proved to be a difficult, unattainable goal. The field here is very strong and many of the top finishers have world cup experience. We're pretty sure that "full time" student is a relative term :) The results were then taken home and converted for the chocolate payment schedule. At the beginning of the competition we were given a FIS point list for all the registered athletes. From this list we have devised the WUG 2005 Hit List. Finishing ahead of 1 hit list skier (qualified by 70 or fewer fis points, including all Russions 70 or not) will get you one square of chocolate. Beating 5 or more hit list skiers gets you a bar of chocolate. In order to ensure that everyone satisfies thier chocolate cravings for the day we have included one "token Croat" who has 664 points... FIS points go that high??? A running tally of earnings is being kept and we will keep you informed of the final numbers!

Now it is time to rewind and take you back a few days. There have been a few key events worth mentioning since the last update; a trip to Innsbruck, the opening ceremonies and the arrival of our 6th team mate Scally Maggiwagon... AKA Magi Scallion.

Fueled by a passion for H&M (a european clothing store) Sarah suggested a day trip to Innsbruck to see the old city and of course, to shop. The train from Seefeld to Innsbruck had been recommended to us as the best way to see the sights and it definitely lived up to our expectations. There was some concern that Claire would lose her arm to a mountain tunnel while reaching out for one of her 5 million photographs. The old town was beautiful with its cobble stone streets and narrow alleyways. And the shopping... well, it was discovered that Sarah and I were the only ones with the shopping endurance to spend 1 hour in H&M. The other girls waited patiently outside, satisfying their sweet tooths with multiple trips to the bakery.

Another event worthy of mention was the opening ceremonies. Despite the standing and waiting, followed by more waiting, the opening ceremonies were really cool. Team Canada paraded in proudly wearing our team uniforms, which will serve nicely as maternity wear when the time comes. The organizers showed their event planning experience by inviting a well known DJ to attract a crowd... and oh yes, they also cheered for the athletes :) In true Shayla form I kept laughing and laughing. What was so funny? Well, it's hard to explain :) While the music was still pumping, a dance circle formed between us and the Chinese. Let us mention that for 74 Garry Gibson can throw down the moves!! This moment was closely followed by something equally humerous as Sarah was interviewed by a Chinese TV crew with an interpreter. Unfortunatley the only thing that got accross was her name. It was a little loud for the interpreter to hear :) As the ceremonies ended a strong effort was made to trade the Canada toques, which were a little tight on the cranium. A few unsuccessful attempts were made to trade for the coveted Mongolian hat. This piece of clothing can be summed up as a dead fox on your head... what makes it so appealing? It's hard to say :)

Our spare time has been spent in a variety of ways. Namely improving our vocabulary with numerous games of scrabble. To the credit of our french team mate Christine, she has become a force to be reckoned with. She has also been very patiently helping me refresh my French skills. She often tells me when I am making a fool of myself and how to correct it. However, she failed to alert me that the French team was right behind me while I sang a nonsense song about "un petite souree dans my maison" (a little mouse in my house). We were also lucky enough to watch a live World Cup broadcasted on Eurosport and cheer for our fellow Canadians overseas.

The next few days should be very exciting. Some planned highlights to look forward to in the next update: 5/10 km skate race, relays, hockey game, the Swarovski crystal palace and of course much much more!

Hope all is well, Shazla (the y and z are in opposite places on this keyboard, so I think I am changing my name for the remainder of the trip) :)

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