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July 24/05 12:48 pm - Master's Games Report


Posted by Editoress on 07/24/05
 

Pam and John’s World Masters Games Cycling Journal

Friday July 22nd



Pamela Egger and John Tolkamp are participating in Edmonton’s World Masters Games. These are their cycling stories and experiences from the world’s largest sporting event.



Picked up a copy of the Edmonton Journal this morning and a front page story was reporting the 21,000+ athletes will spend $31million during their visit to the Games. Not a bad return for a $5 million dollar investment by the local, provincial and federal governments. Not all of the money is spent in Edmonton as most foreign athletes will tour to various parts of the country – this is affectionately called “sport tourism” by the host cities.



Some Stats:

• 21,285 athletes from 84 countries are registered

• 33% are international registrations

• Russia has 408 competitors, Autralia 1,442!

• Cycling is one of the top 5 most popular individual sports with 947 athletes registered

• The oldest women is 95 year-old swimmer from Australia, the oldest athlete is a 96 year-old swimmer from Winnipeg

• 58% are male. 42% of the athletes are female



Accreditation



The first glimpse that athletes get this is a big deal is when getting accredited. After confirming identity and a quick picture each participant is issued their Games pass. Next the participants are issued their official Masters Games backpack and a T-shirt specifically color coded to their sport to be worn at the evening’s opening ceremonies. Next up is a visit to the participants sport booth. At the cycling booth we were given our handbook and issued race numbers.



The accreditation complex also held a large expo and we took the opportunity to oogle the new Carbon Cervelo P3.



TT preview



After accreditation we headed 20 minutes north west to St. Albert to recon the time trial course in advance of tomorrows race. The course is an unsheltered out and back 18 km course with long false flats and barely a corner – definitely suited to the power rider which put a wide grin on John’s face. We met up with fellow masters rider David Kosib from Vancouver who has ridden the course the past few days. While we faced a 30 km westerly wind on the return leg, David mentioned the wind direction was shifting each day – no chance we’d have still air. Other than the wind the only technical challenge one was going to face race day was to not inhale one of the thousands of grasshoppers flying in your face.



Opening Ceremonies



The second glimpse that this event is a big deal is the opening ceremonies. Definitely a highlight of the Masters Games. 20,000 athletes and 20,000 spectators taking to the stands of Commonwealth Stadium. The athletes arranged in their pre-issued color T-shirts on one wide with and spectators on the other side.



Fireworks; contemporary, native and Ukrainian dancers; gymnasts, and several overhead passes by the Snow Birds provided entertainment as various officials and dignitaries addressed the crowds and athletes.



A nice touch was to have the athletes seated by sport which gave us a chance to catch up with fellow cyclists. We met Bertil Petterson from New York who confirmed, like others, he too was taken by surprise by the grand scale of the Masters Games. Nels Guolien and Tony Routley, from Port Moody and Whistler respectively, also stopped by. Earlier in the day they had competed in the first cycling event of the Games - mountain biking. Congrats go out to Nels and Tony as they both claimed Gold in the respective age groups!



Once the games were declared open the formal part of the ceremonies concluded and the athletes were allowed onto the in-field for the open ceremonies party accompanied by a Beatles cover band and Randy Bachman.



Well that’s all for us today. Time Trial and Road Race are upcoming.



 


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