Credit: Ariane Colenbrander

2010 Games proved to be a social media - and real life - adventure

It started with a tweet…

The 2010 Vancouver Olympics and Paralympics proved to be a wonderful social media experiment for me. And it all started out with Twitter. My Twitter page includes a reference to electric scooters and somehow the House of Switzerland picked up on this tiny factoid and contacted me via a DM.

We carried on a dialog which eventually led to a visit on their opening day. Along with several social media folk, I was granted accreditation to visit the house, report on events during the Olympics and enjoy Swiss hospitality.

Getting Olympic Media Accreditation

After that, one thing led to another as I joined forces with True North Media House, an initiative by Dave Olson, John Biehler and Kris Krug. This was an engaging way for those interested in covering the Games to have a voice, apart from mainstream media.

After awhile, a few media badges led to more, and with more badges came opportunity for reporting and networking. I was accredited to a few more pavilions and attended media events for the duration of the Olympics. I also contributed a lot of content to BC Living's Games Guide, and photos to their Flickr pool.

Blogging the Paralympics

After the Olympics, tweets started to pour in regarding mainstream media not covering the Paralympics' opening ceremony. I was motivated even further to get out there and cover a major event underrepresented in the sporting world. It was easier to get accredited for the Paralympics than the Olympic games. The International Paralympic Committee granted me a badge at the last minute and off I went, covering sledge hockey, wheelchair curling and various alpine events in Whistler.

The closing ceremony was brilliant despite the downpour. The entire Whistler village witnessed a procession of athletes make their way to the Whistler Medals Plaza, where, miraculously, the rain stopped for the duration. It was great to see Whistler take the stage for the final event of the Winter Games. Not only were the Paralympic Games more budget-friendly, but the athletes and families were easily approachable and grateful for the interest and attention bestowed upon them.

An Olympic-sized Tally

I made a lot of friends and business connections during both the Olympics and Paralympics. Seeing the entire event unfold from a blogger's perspective was an eye-opening experience. And not having to queue for events or pavilions made it a dream experience for anyone with enough energy to keep following the crowd.

At last count, my Olympics memorabilia included:

  • 12 media and event badges
  • 225 Olympic and Paralympic pins
  • four USB sticks
  • one pair of red Olympic mittens
  • one Olympic sweater
  • one blue DEVO energy dome hat
  • one closing ceremony pair of antlers
  • three Olympic mascots
  • 4,311 photos

and countless memories.

Ariane Colenbrander is a Vancouver-based freelance communication designer who's lived and worked in the US, Canada and Western Europe. Between designing gigs, she can be found at Grouse Mountain (hiking the Grind or skiing), tending to her digital photography library in Lightroom, attending and blogging about local events, live music shows and Canucks hockey games.