On Sunday I went with another friend to watch the slalom. There were two categories here: Visually impaired and sit-ski (no standing for this one). This event was a ton of fun. It was a sunny morning, and a super popular event. All the athletes seemed to have a big team of people in the stands cheering for them.
My friend and I dressed up like champs. Canada flag cape, headbands, mittens, pins, and tiny flags were carried and worn. We also decided not to sit in the stands, but to stand near the finish line, right up against the gate. It was pretty fun being in the background of TV cameras doing interviews!
There were tons of teams there supporting their athletes. One of the funniest ones were the Mexican supporters, who all wore sombrero's. They were super friendly, and had two athletes compete in this event. The Americans blew airhorns, the Japanese waved big flags, and the British spun noisemakers. The Canadians were plentiful and loud!!! Lots of support out that day.
One of the more interesting things I noticed about the actual event was how often people would miss a gate, or fall, and then hike back up the mountain to make the gate (found out later that it was to avoid being disqualified). Also, the visually impaired athletes went slower than I thought they would. Not that I blame them. Skiing down an icy steep hill with no vision is probably one of the LAST things I would want to do. It certainly requires trusting your guide with your life, steeling yourself to smacking into gates, and a lot of courage!!!!!! These guys and gals were amazing.
The sit-ski was also cool to watch. Though there were several DNF's for athletes who fell or missed a gate. I'm not sure if it's always the way it is with paralympic slalom, or just that course. I felt awful when I saw them fall or get disqualified. In one case, in the visually impaired event, the GUIDE was the one to lose a ski (and get the paralympian disqualified).
Not to say that there was a lot of excitement and happiness. One of our Canadian skiiers, Josh Dueck, won SILVER! wooohooo!
We got the chance to meet team members from Chile, Mexico, USA, and Canada. We also met John Furlong!
Overall it was a great day!