LONDON - There are five rings in the Olympic logo. I also like to think of those rings as all the Olympic games I've been fortunate enough to have covered for KARE 11.
So far now, I've been to three summer Games (Athens, Beijing, and London), and two winter Games (Torino and Vancouver). It's an honor to once again be here, but I keep getting asked, how does this one rank in the grand scheme of my experience?
Everyone is so similar, yet so different.
As far as venues go, it was hard to beat Vancouver. It is such a vibrant and beautiful city. The history wasn't nearly as rich as Beijing, London, Athens, or Torino, but as far as modern amenities, it was tough to top the Pacific northwest gem of Canada.
As far as lodging goes, Athens was by far the worst. It was worse than a college dorm room. London is top in this category. I'm at a Hilton and frankly, it's lovely and quite comfortable.
As far as logistics go, Vancouver and Torino were by far the most complicated. All the mountain events like skiing and luge were so difficult to access. Athens involved the longest walk to our live shot location from our workspace. A good 20 minute walk to the TV platform made it super challenging, especially when working under tight deadlines. Beijing was the goofiest as far as the time change went. It was 13 hours ahead of Minnesota time and the clock counting got to be so confusing early on.
As for the people, London is easily the nicest town I've encountered in this run, and China was the most uneasy as far as the communist regime in place, not to mention the brutal language barrier. Obviously, Vancouver and London have been the smoothest linguistically. Athens I believe had the most national pride though when it came to the actual Games.
As for the actual sporting activities. The opening ceremony in Beijing is still tops. Vancouver was a blast because watching Lindsey Vonn win skiing gold was so rewarding. Seeing the USA soccer team win gold with local goalie Brianna Scurry in nets was amazing, and Michael Phelps golden moments in the pool were pretty tough to top in China. Usain Bolt's performance the last two summer Games too have been super human, but being in attendance when Canada beat the USA in the gold medal game in men's hockey on home ice in Vancouver is still the most resounding and indelible sports event I've ever witnessed.
Will there be more amazing events here in London? Absolutely! Will there be a Perk presence in the next Games in Sochi, Russia? The jury is most definitely still out on that, but one thing is for sure. There are few professional experiences more amazing than an Olympiad regardless of location.
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