Follow Margarita Gorbounova on her journey through training and competition
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
The Paralympic Games are at about the half-way point, and we're busier than ever. Yesterday was the 15 km free-style race. Only 8 girls started in my category, one of them didn't finish, and so I was 7th. The conditions were really tough: it was +6 and sunny, so the snow was very wet and mushy. All the uphills were really hard work, not that they usually aren't, but with the slush it was even worse. I don't usually ski in this type of conditions, so it took me the first two five-km loops to figure out how to ski in them. I fell a couple of times because I got stuck in the mush and then had an asthma attack from working so hard on one of the bigger hills. The last lap actually went pretty well, but it was too late to catch up to anyone by then. But I'm still happy with my seventh place because that's seventh at the Paralympic Games! It's not my fault that other peple were to chicken to even start! Some volunteers had my camera, but I guess they couldn't figure out how to work the zoom either, so Robert and I turned out pretty tiny, but here is an article from the Ottawa Citizen that's got a pretty good shot of us!
Then, just after I finished, guess what? Doping control got me again! They must really like me over there! And if I said it was hard to pee before, it was extremely difficult after a 15 km race when I was all dehydrated from sweating so much! I didn't get out of there until almost 5 o'clock! It was brutal!
At 7 o'clock, we went over to the Medals Plaza in Whistler for the Victory Ceremonies. Canada got 2 gold and a bronze. How about that! The McKeever brothers and two alpine skiers did us proud. Go Canada go!
Afterwards, we all went to the Whistler Canada Paralympic House for the family and friends reception. It was a great time! I got to hang out with my parents, teammates and some friends that are here volunteering. Jerry King and Melanie Ross, our fellow Para-Nordic skiers who didn't make this year's team are here as forerunners: they ski the race course just before competition begins in order to ski in the snow and "warm up" the trails for us. Jeff Whiting, the Para-Nordic Development Co-ordinator for Western Canada and one of my personal coaches, is here working for TV. There were also other old teammates and teammates' family members that I got to catch up with. It was great to see everyone and to share this amazing experience with them. Thanks for coming guys!
Top photo: My dad, Mikhail; my mom, Olga; Jason Dunkerley, our Athlete Services Officer; Courtney Knight, my teammate; Stewart McGregor, our other ASO; and me
Bottom photo: me and Jeff Whiting
This morning started off just as crazy as yesterday. I thought I would just take today easy and get a few things done, like my blog and laundry. So I got up at 9 and was getting my things together for the laundry, when I heard Courtney and Andrea running around in their room. I went to ask what all the commotion was about, and they said, "We're going up to Callaghan 'cause Rick Mercer will be there with the McKeevers and we want to say hi!" and then, "you should come with us!" At first, I said no, I hand't had breakfast yet and all that, but then they twisted my rubber arm by suggesting that I just get a coffee and muffin from McDonald's and come along. So of course I did. I ran to the Food Tent like mad, scaring Mary in the process, and was on the bus in no time.
It was pouring rain out there, but we got our gear and went looking for Rick. We found out that he was at a certain spot on the rec trails, so we scooted over there and sure enough, there they were. So we stood there, realizing belatedly that we hadn't really come up with a plan of how we were going to approach them. Then someone spotted us and said "Hey Canada!" which was all the promting we needed. We skied over to them, said hi and introduced ourselves. And that was about all we did, but then that was really all we wanted! We had fun paparazzi'ing it up!
When we got back to the Village, Rob (who also came along) and I had an interview with a reporter from the Vancouver Sun. It took us almost an hour: it was quite a bit more in-depth than I'd expected. It's so much fun being a celebrity for a week!
By the time we came back to our building, Rick Mercer was already here, and he actually came over to our athletes' lounge and interviewed a few of us (not me, I'm not interesting enough). He did a big interview with Collette, our silver medalist, which was awesome, and of course, we got to take pictures with him. So watch for an RMR with our team on it in the coming weeks!
Left to right: Andrea, Mary, Rick, Courtney, Margarita
And that's all the news from here for now. It's a crazy life we lead for another week or so, and I just can't get enough of the excitement! Tomorrow is the long biathlon race, but I'm not racing it. I'm trying to rest up (as much as can be done in the circumstances) for the 5 km classic, which should be my best event, or at least the one I'm looking forward to the most! I'm going to go see my poor parents now, I've been so busy today, I haven't been able to go visit them. Some family time is definitely in order. Good night from Whister!