Thousands of volunteers got stuck in the bitter cold, working security or cleaning up events. I, however, had a pretty amazing volunteer job. Mysteriously promoted from "press runner" (aka grunt) at Soldier Hollow, I found myself in the elite Donor program, acting as a personal guide/assistant to a family who made a personal $5 million donation to the game.
Outfitted with an official Olympic vehicle, cell phone, and wardrobe, I was ready. BYU gave students a week off school in February; I missed an entire month. A solid month. It. Was. Awesome.
I'd never driven in Utah before (I was carless my first four years in the Prov). I'd never driven in winter conditions before. I didn't even know how to get to Park City.
Nonetheless, I was entrusted with a brand new 15-passenger van. With a gas card. 10 days before the actual Olympics began. I am rather lucky, it's true. (Ask me about accidentally scraping the top of that van at my grandparent's condo and the chunk of the garage door that's still missing sometime. It's a story.)
The family I chauffeured had 12 tickets to three or four events a day. Guess who typically got to go with them? Donating $5mil also gets you into some pretty amazing food service tents. Guess who typically got to eat with them? Now, I'm not saying it was all fun and games. In fact, I cried a few times and wished the Olys would hurry up and end. BUT. I got to see and do some pretty freaking amazing stuff. Including (but not limited to)...
- Women's Halfpipe (do you see how good our seats were? I've circle where you can see us sitting. This picture was in an Olympic book my Gma bought. I'm immortalized!)
- Women's Moguls
- Men's Halfpipe
- Downhill Skiing
- Hockey, hockey, hockey -- including several crazy Canadian games
- Pairs Freestyle Ice-Skating (that's right. the Canadian/Russian drama-rama. I was there!)
- Ice Skating Exhibition Show
- Close proximity to both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies
- Medal Ceremonies with concerts including: Dave Matthews, Sheryl Crow, Lifehouse, NSYNC, and other rockin' early 2000's bands
To this day though, I wonder whose job I accidentally took--but I sure hope they enjoyed looting through bags and manning the metal detectors.