They're over. The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games are over,done and gone. But what has been left and documented in their wake will live on forever in our hearts and minds as Canadians, Vancouverites and as the hosts to the best damn winter Olympics ever.
But it wasn't always that way. I for example, didn't want the games, didn't agree with the politics of it all and certainly didn't want the economic burden. But it changed. Somewhere along the way in February I, along with many many others, felt a change in the air as the games approached. I don't know what compelled me to do it, but one night about a week or so before the opening ceremonies I decided to create a new blog. A blog dedicated solely to the Olympic experience from the ground. Not the sports, not the gala events. The street level, the people. At first I thought I would just go down and take some pictures, I mean what else could I do? I had no affiliation with any magazine or publication. My greatest accomplishment journalism wise was guest blogging on a celeb gossip site, not really in the same arena as reporting on the goings on during the Olympic games.
Then something clandestine happened to change all that. My good friend Heather (Hez) tweeted me about an independent media house offering accreditation to bloggers called True North Media House. Genius! This was exactly what I needed to be taken serious as a blogger and not someone looking for a free good time. I quickly signed up and printed off my badge while setting in motion wheels that would continue to turn long after the games were gone. I learned about using a creative commons license and about sharing my work on twitter using #hashtags, as well as meeting new people through TNMH before,during and after #Van2010.
Once the actual Games started I wore my badge everywhere when taking pictures or interviewing randoms on the street. I can't tell you how easy it made it to do this. Without a proper badge and affiliation, I would be just another tourist with a camera, another face in the crowd and lost among the "real" journalists. Sure, I never made it into some amazing things, but it wasn't about that. It was about the experience and that has paid off more than I ever imagined. I did get backstage and front of house access in Surrey at their Olympic site and that was pretty cool,but the coolest part of all this was the stuff that came after! By meeting someone at Surrey with my TNMH badge, I was able to gain access to Canada Day in Surrey, Fusion Festival, and Vancouver Pride.
True North Media House didn't just give us a voice, they gave us a chance and it was up to us to make the most of it. I truly believe I have and will continue to from being included in a Huffington Post article about the positives of Twitter, to covering the Queer Film Festival and International Vancouver Film Festival for my own blog. None of this would have happened had I not grasped hold of an opportunity placed in front of me by people seeking a new alternative to traditional media. The Games may have come and gone, but the legend of True North Media House continues to grow, one blogger at a time.