I Watched...

Fans in Vancouver celebrating their nation's Winter Olympics gold medal in hockey. Canada beat the USA in the final game, 3-2, in ovetime. 022810
March 1

I Watched...

by Jeff Glor, CBS News correspondent

It's been, as always, an extraordinary few weeks.

I watched the rain stream down when I arrived.

I watched a Winter Games host city sit surprisingly without snow.

I watched an opening day get off to an unspeakably sad start.

I watched a sliding course that sacrificed safety for the sake of speed.

I watched an opening ceremony finish with an embarrassing snafu.

I watched Vancouverites display unendingingly polite manners.

I ate more take-out sushi than ever before.

I watched a country bursting with energy over its national sport.

I was reminded how amazing hockey is.

I watched Team USA pull off a thrilling upset.

I watched a U.S. squad burst out to an impressive medal count lead, and never look back.

I watched the alarm clock hit 2 a.m. way too many times.

I watched people give me odd looks if I walked across the street during red lights.

I watched my first snowflakes of the games, 75 miles away, in Whistler.

I watched an attention-grabbing "Own the Podium" campaign struggle in its opening days.

I watched the clouds eventually part.

I watched the weather turn for the better.

I watched a stunning city in sunlight -- water and hills together, with air as crisp as a mountain stream.

I watched curling -- and I loved every minute of it.

I tried curling -- and I didn't succeed at first.

I kept curling -- and I watched my third stone hit the house.

I watched a controversial veteran skier get three medals.

I felt really good for him, despite his past struggles.

I watched ketchup chips get consumed at a rapid clip.

I watched a lot of coffee go down my pipe.

I watched an incredible crew work long hours and come through every time.

I watched a sublime figure skating performance unfold under unmatched pressure.

I watched the host country storm back impressively in the medal count, led by a late gold rush.

I watched a woman weep tears of joy when Canadian men won curling gold.

I watched newspapers here speculate about whether these were the greatest games ever, a stunning comeback when you consider how it all started.

I watched a young and surprising U.S. team storm back in a hockey gold medal game for the ages.

I watched Sidney Crosby come up big.

I watched bedlam on the streets.

I heard horns honk all night long.

I watched Canada bid goodbye to the games.

I watched the alarm clock hit 2 am one final time.

And I watched my wife and kid on Skype one more time, which is nice, but not the same.

I can't wait to watch them again in person.

Feb. 28

A Victory Reaching the Soul of a Nation

by Lauren Danza, CBS News producer

I was in Chicago on Election Night when Barack Obama won the Presidency. I was in Boston for Red Sox victory parade after their first World Series win in 86 years. But there was something different about being in Vancouver in the moments after the Canadian men's hockey team won the gold medal in overtime over the USA.


Fans in Vancouver celebrating Canada's hockey gold medal.

The city was alive in a way I haven't seen in the three weeks I've been here. There were the car horns, the cheering, and the cow bells. But in the minutes and hours after the win, there was just a constant roar within the city.

As an American, I found myself slightly torn. (I may have yelled, "Alright already! We getting the friggin' idea!" at a honking enthusiast.) The patriotic part of me, of course, wanted to see a USA win. But at the same time, there was something so incredible about witnessing that roar, that life in this city that's been my home for the past three weeks.

Special Section: Vancouver Olympics

Hockey is Canada's game, and I'm convinced that, despite its record-breaking performance and gold medal barrage, this country would not have known what to do with itself had their hockey team had to settle for silver. The weight of a nation was truly on the players' shoulders, and to see the relief, and joy, and celebration on the faces of Canadians at every turn well into the night tonight was something I'll always remember.

Feb. 26

A Head Above the Rest

by Lauren Danza, CBS News producer

Canadians have been showing their spirit in lots of ways.

Nearly everyone here is decked out in official Canada gear. The crowds of people on the streets of Vancouver are seas of red and white.

The most striking thing to me is the number of people wearing hockey jerseys. You can't do anything around here without seeing one. Do they wear them to work? I wonder.

Special Section: Vancouver Olympics

For the more enthusiastic fan, there is the face paint, the chest paint, and of course, the Canadian flag cape.

But earlier today, I saw a showing of national pride that required a little more commitment and creativity: a Maple Leaf shaved in the back of a man's head, and dyed red (of course.)


A maple leaf shaved into a man's head at the Olympics.

What made me take notice of it so quickly was the fact that, in Beijing, I saw someone do the exact same thing. His was the "running man" symbol of the 2008 Summer Games. Either way, pretty well done -- though I suppose I should be complimenting the person who wielded the razor!


The "running man" symbol in one man's hair.

Feb. 25, 2010

Getting Loud for Hockey

by Jeff Glor, CBS News correspondent

What a thrilling day for hockey.

I think I violated several noise codes inside the building while watching the USA-Switzerland game yesterday afternoon. Not a serene setting for my colleagues. The US peppered the net with shots the first two periods (outshooting the Swiss an astounding 32-8) but nothing was sticking. In the end, the win was deserved, but after a day off, it gets much more difficult in Friday's semifinal. Take a look at the Finnish roster. Grinders and NHL veterans abound.

Then there was the Canada-Russia matchup last night. I don't know if I've ever seen a more intense hockey atmosphere. This city is electric right now. Canada was already the national pastime. Now it's the national obsession. I mean that in the best was possible. I was in line yesterday and a woman near me said, "I don't usually watch hockey. But this is amazing." Not the first time I've heard that sentiment. Nothing short of a gold medal in men's hockey will do for Canadian fans. And now, they suddenly appear to have an easier path to the final game (after Slovakia's surprising win over Sweden).

If they knock off the Slovaks, and the US gets by the Fins, Sunday will be insane.

Feb. 24, 2010

A Word About Lines

by Lauren Danza, CBS News producer

Before I begin...a special shout out to Michael Mancusi and my readers at Errickson Elementary School in Freehold, N.J. Hi guys, and thanks for reading!

There are a lot of people here in Vancouver for the Olympics Games. And I would estimate that about 72 percent of those people are currently waiting in a line somewhere. Or, as Canadians would say, they are "queuing." There are lines to get into bars, restaurants, free screening areas or to have you picture taken in a bobsled. The only thing more baffling than the number of lines around this city is the Canadians' capacity to wait in them.

Special Section: Vancouver Olympics

At the Olympic Super Store, where you can buy the officially licensed Team Canada gear that the athletes wear, there is a consistent 3 hour wait just get inside. At Robson Square, where organizers have created a lively outdoor gathering area for tourists, we've heard the wait to ride a free zip line has gotten up to 6 hours long. Yes, a 20-second zip line ride over the crowd will cost you six hours of your life.

Jeff and others have discussed the politeness of the Canadian people, but there is some evidence their patience may be running out. I attended Short Track Speed Skating outside of Vancouver on Saturday night. After it was over, thousands of spectators made their way to public buses waiting to take them back to the city. While the line was moving smoothly, some people did try to come around to the front and cut in. (They must have been Americans.) Yells of, "Back of the line!" and "There's a line here!" could be heard from the Canadian crowd. But can you blame Canadians for being a little upset? They did just watch two of their countrymen in the five-man final of the men's 1500m race, only to see them finish fourth and fifth.

I learned first hand that there is one line that Canadians take very seriously; the left turn line. My cameraman Gilbert and I received a stern reprimand for pulling what's known as a "New York Left Turn," while racing back to the office with a tape on deadline in Gilbert's SUV. After pulling in front of a line of cars waiting to make a left, a Vancouver police officer stopped us, rolled down his window and yelled, "What was that back there?! Do I need to remind you that you're in a foreign country?!"

Apparently, he did.

Feb. 24, 2010

Ketchup Chips, Anyone?!

by Jeff Glor, CBS News correspondent

The great Ketchup chip controversy continues.

In case you missed it, ketchup chips are something of a national tradition here in Canada. Maybe not on the scale of hockey or curling, but not far behind.

A bag of ketchup chips sat near the coffee machine in our workspace when I first arrived. It generated much discussion, followed by an explanation and education from our Canadian intern. He loves them, as do millions in his homeland. I'm told they are available all over Canada, and in some American stores near the border -- though growing up only 15 miles away from our northern neighbor (in Tonawanda, N.Y.), I'd never seen them before.

There's nothing tricky involved. Ketchup chips are regular potato chips dusted with a red powder. They taste like, well, ketchup -- sweeter than the average chip, owing to whatever sort of artificial tomato-like flavor they throw into the mass Ketchup chip-making mix.


They were met with a good deal of derision inside the workspace:

"Why are these chips so red?"

"Ketchup chips? Really?"

"Can someone please go out and get some real potato chips?"

But here's the thing: They always get eaten. I'm not sure how many bags we've gone through, but they usually don't last long. That means one of two things: Either we'll eat anything you put in front of us, or ketchup chips deserve a bigger market.

Maybe both.