We had a training day on Wednesday, where it snowed like crazy and was difficult to see. Snow bullets were getting all up in our eyeballs, so that was unfortunate, but at least it was snowing! It was such wet snow and the track was getting a bit chopped up- But the pink barrel was lovin it!
Yesterday was Thursday and the New Zealand team had a day that we will never forget. We all jumped on a bus and we rolled on down to the Squamish Totem hall, where we met up with the rest of the team from Vancouver. We were greeted by the Squamish Band and were invited into their long house. We had a great feed, which was made by the families, and then some great inspirational speeches by some of the elders.
All the NZ athletes and Staff were then invited into a room where we were blanketed. This is when a special, traditional blanket it wrapped around our shoulders and fastened, and a handmade woven headband, made my children, put on our heads. We then lined around the building and were paired with the Chiefs descendants, whom we walked into the main hall with. We stood on the 'sacred ground' which were blankets and were given amazing gifts from the Squamish people. Afterwards they folded up the blankets, and we gave them to people in the crowd as gifts.
It was then NZ turn and we had speeches from the head of the NZOC, Barry Meister, a speech from Pete Wardell, our Chief de mission, and the NZ Minister of Tourism. They were very inspirational and all the athletes kept looking at each other going "oh man, this is pretty full on", in a good way of course! We then did a team Haka, and then the flag bearer was named.
Congratulations, Juliane Bray, you are amazing and deserve to carry in our flag at the opening ceremonies with pride! You really show the NZ spirit and we love you for it! Well done!
We then gave our punamu necklaces (green stone) to the little kids of Squamish. It was so cute. It was an amazing day, and the NZ support staff put so much work into. Trevor and Robyn, way to go! Thank you for the experience of a lifetime and I personally think you two are top notch.
Our whole team is amazing- a very happy, friendly group of awesomeness. We get along great and are having a blast.
Unfortunately I will not be walking in the Opening Ceremonies tonight as I have my first race tomorrow. It would have been 6 hours in a bus, 2 hours to stand around, 10 minutes to walk in, and not enough recovery. It is sad, but I am here to compete and the timing and circumstances just didn't work out. So, I will go see my parents as it is my Fathers Birthday.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY POPS!!!! WAY TO BE AN AWESOME DAD! xoxoxo