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Friday, February 5, 2010 - Page updated at 11:41 a.m.

Community contributurs

Seattle Times readers are headed to Vancouver for the 2010 Olympic Games. They'll be sending back notes on their experiences, thoughts, observations on the city and their time there.

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Name: Reed Baker
Age: 30
Hometown: Monroe, Wash.
Traveling with: My wife, Christine, 30, and daughter Avery, 16 mos. We are going to the Olympic events with my father who lives in Vancouver.
Why attending: We are attending the Olympics because we consider it to be a once in a life time event and it will be a great time for my 16 month old daughter to spend time with her grandfather.

Name: Cynthia Bishop
Age: 42
Hometown: Sammamish, Wash.
Traveling with: My husband Scott Bishop, 45, and our daughter Zoe, 8.
Why attending: After hearing co-workers chat about the difficulty of obtaining Olympic tickets, I felt the competitive call of a challenge! I soon realized that it took more money than luck. As my pockets emptied out, I became the proud owner of tickets to 3 events -- Speed skating, Women's Hockey Playoff, and Freestyle Skiing. This seems good, right? After all, I voted for speed skater Apollo Ohno on Dancing with the Stars. A few more dollars secured a nice hotel room in downtown Vancouver. It is too embarrassing to share the ridiculously high price of the nightly rate. For simple math on the hotel room alone, double reasonable expectations and add a few hundreds. I quickly justified the extravagance to a once in a lifetime opportunity. Given our Seattle area location, we will save money by driving instead of flying. Just think of the educational opportunity for our daughter!

Name: Tom Brown
Age: 36
Hometown: Puyallup, Wash.
Traveling with: Brandy Tierney, 29, of Montesano, Wash.
Why attending: We are attending the Winter Olympics because we are both huge local sports fans (Season ticket holders for the Hawks and Sounders) and the fact the Olympics are in our backyard. We cannot pass up that opportunity.

Name: Rod Crow
Age: 41
Hometown: Marysville, Wash.
Traveling with: A friend
Why attending: We both thought that the Olympics are just too close to pass up. Just to be around the atmosphere that is going to be up there because of the Olympics is too hard to pass up. We are both hockey fans and thought seeing a match would be awesome. I am really getting excited to going up there. The Olympics have always held a special place for me. The love of sports!

Name: Neil Enns
Age: 31
Hometown: Snohomish, Wash.
Traveling with: N/A
Why attending: Attneding the Games for two reasons. First, I'm Canadian, so how could I miss attending the Olympics when they are in my backyard and in my home country? Two, I'm a curler at the Granite Curling Club in Seattle, and couldn't imagine missing out on seeing the finest curlers in the world play when I'm just two hours away.

Name: Jody Finnegan
Age: 40
Hometown: Bellingham, Wash.
Traveling with: My husband, Brian Finnegan, 41, and our daughter, Kayleigh, 16 months. My brother (Micheal Proctor) and his buddies will be joining us for the week as well.
Why attending: We are attending the Olympics because we love them and it is right in our backyard living in Bellingham and we can't pass up this opportunity. We were watching Micheal Phelps win the gold when we were delivering baby Kayleigh. We also own a condo up in Whistler and it is absolutely one of our favorite places to go. We were just up at Whistler over the Christmas holiday and we bought our Olympic cowbells. My grandmother crocheted for all of us, red, white and blue hats and scarves. We are beyond excited. In our condo hangs a picture of Whistler when they announced that Vancouver won the Olympic bid.

Name: Ian Farrell
Age: 32
Hometown: Raymond, Wash.
Traveling with: Traveling with my wife, Sara, and our 19-month old son, Henry. I have always been a huge fan of the Olympics.
Why attending: I enjoy other sports, especially baseball, but the Olympics have always been the pinnacle of sporting for me. To have them so close to my home is amazing and I would be a fool not to attend as much as I can. I've always enjoyed the Winter Olympics more than Summer Olympics (just barely).

Name: Jay Fredlund
Age: 25
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: I'm traveling with my younger brother, Eric.
Why attending: We're going to the Olympics because seriously, how many opportunities will we get to attend an Olympics so close to home, right in the prime of our lives!

Name: Shannan Frisbie
Age: 33
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: My husband, Ian Smith, 38, and our son Duncan Frisbie-Smith, 3 (he will be with us for the first week and then he'll be heading home with grandparents). We have a number of friends and colleagues that are attending as well that we'll be seeing while we're there.
Why attending: It's been a lifelong dream of mine to go to the Olympics. I grew up watching the summer and winter games and always wished I could be in the stands. Honestly, I always wanted to be an athlete but that wasn't in the cards. :)

Name: Charity Glass-Cotta
Age: 31
Hometown: Bothell, Wash.
Traveling with: My husband Chad (31), son Oliver (almost 2 - will be 2 on March 28th), and Chad's mom and step-dad.
Why attending: We are staying at the River Rock Casino Resort, and attending an event on Friday night, Saturday night (the Figure Skating Gala), and the closing Why attending: We are attending the Olympics because it's close! My in-laws attended the Salt Lake games, and it's been a lifelong dream for me to attend the Olympics!

Name: Heidi Jenkins
Age: 27
Hometown: Issaquah, Wash.
Traveling with: Husband, Scott, my brother David, and his wife, Angie.
Why attending: I grew up in Eastern WA, where you can do almost any winter sport (except for maybe luge, but who knows, that could be there, too). My siblings and I grew up skiing, and then as I got older, figure skating. We loved any and all things to do with snow and ice. Being able to see what we once longed to participate in (yet figured out were not athletically gifted enough by a long shot!) will be the trip of a lifetime. My brother and I are more excited for the sport and competition of it, as we are still athletes, and can't wait to vigorously shake that cowbell on the bobsled track! We have been planning for this trip since 2007. It has been an incredibly long journey, from lodging waitlists, to obtaining tickets, to my husband's Iraq deployment making it difficult when making crucial decisions (such as ticket opportunities), and also him needing enough vacation to actually go on the trip.

Name: Jim Jeffreys and Suna Gurol
Age: Jim, 43, Suna, 42
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: Our 8-year-old son, Kai Jeffreys.
Why attending: We've lived in Seattle for 20+ years. We have always been fans of the Olympics and went through the exhaustive process of getting tickets, lodging and all that because we were excited that the Olympics would be so close to where we live. We were profiled in the Times for the "Freezing Out the Fans" series in November for our struggles in getting lodging for the three of us.

Name: Reuben Joseph
Age: 28
Hometown: Lakewood, Wash.
Traveling with: My fiancee, my brother, and some friends of mine (both in Seattle and in Vancouver).
Why attending: When I heard that the Olympics were coming to Vancouver about 6 years ago I made it a goal of mine to attend no matter what. One of the most important reasons why I wanted to attend the Olympics was because the games are literally being played in my back yard. I do not know if an opportunity like this will ever happen again in my lifetime so I want to make the most of it. Currently I am in Baghdad, Iraq serving in the US Army and I am taking my mid-tour leave to specifically attend the Olympics. When I said I will attend at any cost, I meant it. There was absolutely nothing that was going to keep me away from not attending the 2010 Winter Olympics, not even this war in Iraq.

Name: George Liu
Age: 61
Hometown: Seattle, Wash. (I was born in Berlin, Germany, but came here with my parents when I was three)
Traveling with: I will travel to Vancouver by myself for the first weekend of the Olympic games. My brother will fly up from California to join me for our trip to Vancouver for the last weekend of the Olympic Games.
Why attending: Folks consider me to be an Olympic games fanatic. During the past several summer games I have taken a week or so off from work as vacation to watch the broadcasts from 7:00 am to midnight, and have up to three recording devices going. At the end of the 2008 summer games I had recorded 300+ hours of competition on 80 DVDs. Some day after I retire I will go back and relive some of the great moments of the games.

Name: Joshua McGrew
Age: 25
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: Family.
Why attending: Having the Olympics in such close proximity to us here in Seattle is a once in a lifetime opportunity type of experience. I've always been fond of Whistler and winter sports in general, so being right there as it happens wasn't something I was going to let pass by. I love getting in on the action, and I'll have a lot to shoot.

Name: Jean and Mike Meier
Age: All 40s and 50s
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: Friends, Gael and Tom Walsh from Burbank, Calif.
Why attending: The trip originally started out as an idea for a "girls week" as Gael was a figure skater in her school days. She loosely follows the skating world and I thought it would be a fun get together for us. As discussions progressed, the husbands thought it sounded like a good trip too! Our ages range from 40's to 50's.

Name: Chris Morrison
Age: 27
Hometown: Olympia, Wash.
Traveling with: Sandra Morrison (34; wife), Hannah Morrison (7; daughter), Ron Young (55; father-in-law), Ute Young (52; mother-in-law), and Erna Antkowiak (90; wife's grandma).
Why attending: This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend the Olympics so close to home. Our family decided that it would be a great experience to attend. We were able to secure tickets to two different events, one to a German game, and one to USA, as my wife, mother-in-law, and grandma-in-law are German while myself, father-in-law and daughter are American (well, she is part German).

Name: Mikel Morrison
Age: 68
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: My husband, Rollin.
Why attending: Because they are so close to Seattle. We attended the L.A. Olympics when we were living in Santa Barbara. We love sports, and are active ourselves in hiking, swimming, kayaking, and downhill, X-country and skate skiing.

Name: Nathan Murphy
Age: 24 (I'll turn 25 right at the end of the games).
Hometown: Mountlake Terrace, Wash.
Traveling with: My wife, Eileen
Why attending: Growing up the Olympics were a huge event in my family, and I remain a huge Olympic fan. After deciding to move to the Seattle area a few years back I decided the games would never be more accessible to me than in 2010, when they'd be just a few hours away and I'd be able to afford the trip. It was kind of a no-brainer.

Name: Taryn Neville
Age: Not specified.
Hometown: Issaquah, Wash.
Traveling with: My husband, Brian Neville, and I are traveling with my husband's best friends from college, Jesse and his wife Gaylynn Lynch from Bothell, WA.
Why attending: We have taken numerous vacations together over the last decade including a trip to Australia and a few to Las Vegas. We thought this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to have the Olympics in our backyard, so Jesse and Gaylynn put their name in for the ticket lottery last year and secured tickets to three events at Whistler. We will join them for two of the three events and the agenda that Jesse just put together for us is below.

Name: Lisa Nolte
Age: 44
Hometown: Redmond, Wash.
Traveling with: My husband Barry, daughter Marisa (age 10), daughter Emma (age 6) and good friends who are another family of 4 with 2 young daughters.
Why attending: I have great memories of watching the Winter Olympics on TV with my Dad (an Austrian who enjoyed skiing) and dreamed of one day going to the Olympics. Ten years ago we fell in love with Whistler and became ¼ owners of a vacation home in the village. For the past ten years we've been visiting Whistler 3 -- 4 weeks each year, often with friends and have come to consider ourselves part-time "locals".

Name: Joan O'Brien
Age: 53
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: If all goes as planned, I'll be traveling with my good friend and fellow figure skating fan Rona Zevin. We have been to three world championships, grand prix events in the US and Canada, and a variety of other figure skating programs.
Why attending: I've wanted to attend the Olympics since watching Jean Claude Killy in the 1968 winter games. I fell in love with figure skating watching the '92 mens competition and that remains my favorite event 18 years later.

Name: Heather O'Cull
Age: 28
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: My boyfriend, Jon.
Why attending: It has been a lifelong dream of mine to go to the Olympics so the second I realized I was going to be within driving distance of one, I knew I had to get tickets. I love every part of the Olympics and watch them religiously. They are just such a magical time.

Name: Sarah Peshkin
Age: 43
Hometown: Mercer Island, Wash.
Traveling with: My family - son, 11, daughter, 13, husband, 53. We're traveling alongside another family from MI. They also have 2 kids and have experienced Olympics in both SLC and Lake Placid.
Why attending: Why not? I have been a fan of the Olympics since I was 10 years old watching the 1976 Olympics on TV. At that time I told myself I would find a way to compete in the Olympics someday. As I grew up I found rowing was probably going to be my best shot at achieving that goal since I was pretty successful at in high school rowing for Green Lake Crew during the school year and US Junior National Rowing Teams in the summers. I flew from Stockholm, Sweden to Los Angeles in 18984 to be a spectator at the Summer Olympics with my mom after competing at the Jr. World Championships in Sweden. I spent my college years rowing for the U of W and some US National teams always with the goal to compete in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. After a year of testing and selection camps I missed being chosen for the final Olympic team by 2 spots. Darn! So... even though that original goal that was hatched in front of a TV at 10 years old did not come to fruition I still am an avid supporter and fan of the olympic games.

Name: Adam Phillabaum
Age: Not specified.
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: My girlfriend, other friends.
Why attending: This is the first time I've ever been in a position in life to go to the Olympics, (b) I love winter sports and have been skiing since I was 2 years old, and (c) they're just cool, and I'm excited to experience the Olympic atmosphere.

Name: Katrina Thompson
Age: Not specified.
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: I'm volunteering at the Whistler Media Center. My mom Kerry, is also volunteering, but at the Sliding Center.
Why attending: We plan on hanging out in the town area before heading home. My mother is really excited about the pin trading, so that's something else we'll be looking for. I'm going because I wanted to be part of the 'thrill of victory'!

Name: Alex Uher
Age: 30
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: Not specified.
Why attending: I'm attending the olympics as I l've always loved watching them and dreamed of attending. I'm a huge fan of sliding sports such as luge, skeleton and bobsleigh and can't wait to watch olympic level competition for these in person. It will also be amazing to see the world come together in Vancouver and I can't wait to be a part of it.

Name: Liz Vernon
Age: 29
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: Friends (Megan, Patrick, Matthew, all ages 30-34) and my dad, Tom, 57.
Why attending: Chance of a lifetime and we couldn't pass it up. The opportunity presented itself just a few months ago when, surprise, a timeshare became available at Whistler Village. We had been on the waiting list, and were lucky enough to have it come available. We have one parking pass for the condo and will be carpooling up that Thursday evening before the opening games. We're hoping to avoid the very heavy traffic at the border and up the Sea-to-Sky highway by traveling in the evening.

Name: Carrie Yu
Age: 32
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Traveling with: My husband and two kids (2 1/2 years old and 8 months old at the time of the Olympics).
Olympic events: Attending just one event, Women's hockey, US versus China on February 14.