Rachael's first day on Olympic ice was great. She was the first to skate her program so she only had 6 minutes to adjust to the ice and the surroundings and do her warm up. She skated a clean short with all her levels and looked relaxed and focused. I was impressed but not surprised she showed great poise. After the practice, she said she got goose bumps when she skated over the Olympic rings, which were painted underneath at center ice.
For me, it's quite special that I am here with Rachael, a female athlete, since the Vancouver Olympics is setting records for women's participation. Slightly more than 40 percent of the athletes here are women and that percentage is a new record. That means out of the 2,631 athletes, 1,066 are women. Another record that was set at this games is that 25 women (out of 82 nations attending the Olympics) carried the flag and led their athletes' delegations. Women are also part of some of the delegations from the Cayman Islands, Colombia, Ghana, Montenegro, Pakistan and Peru, which are all nations participating in the winter Olympics for the first time.
That said, women ski jumpers were not allowed to participate in these Olympics because their competition standard was not high enough to award a medal, according to the IOC. They have taken the IOC to court (the International Court of Sport Arbitration) and are suing for the right to participate. Perhaps it will happen for them in Sochi, Russia in 2014.
In a couple of hours, I will attend my second, non-skating event at the games. As an athlete, Rachael got tickets to see Apollo Ohno and the women's short track 1500m later tonight. She has decided to stay in the village and rest and work on her senior paper and other homework. In case you are wondering, she could not offer these tickets to her parents because this class of ticket requires that the user also present a credential when they enter the venue. Since her parents do not have credentials, they could not use them. This procedure is different from the tickets Rachael's father and I used last week when we attended the women's long track 3000m race at the Richmond oval.