Olympicanecdotes of South Korea

By Darren Lum
Published March 13 2018

TedBrandon travelled last month to South Korea to see the best in theworld compete on the greatest athletic stage the Olympics.

Itwas an experience the Haliburton resident won’t soon forget.

“I’mreally glad I had the chance to attend but like most sportingevents watching on TV is a superior way to understand what is goingon. Attending live sports just gives you better context for watchingfuture televised events” he wrote in an email.

Thehighlight for Brandon was seeing the gold medal final between thewomen’s Canadian hockey team and the Americans. Although the endresult was disappointing he discovered the major difference betweenthis game and an NHL game is the complexion of the crowd.

“Thebiggest difference was that the crowd was split 50/50Canadian/American. So the cheering was interesting with each grouptrying to out cheer the other” he said. “You probably noticed alot of empty seats. The best seats were very expensive (we sat in thecheap seats at $160) at around $700 so the casual fan would not paythat to watch. It was obvious that two large sections had been heldback by the organizing committee for athletes and dignitaries andthose sections only half filled.”

Brandonsaid he made the trip because of his long-time friend Barry Devolina former MP for Haliburton–Kawartha Lakes–Brock. Devolin was inKorea for two weeks to not only see the Olympics but also to attendSejong University’s convocation ceremony. He recently completed atwo-year tenure as professor there.

“Heasked me if I wanted to join him on his two week return trip to Seouland take in some of the Winter Olympics which were happening inPyeongchang a 90 minute trip on the brand new KTX bullet train”Brandon said.

Anotherhighlight for Brandon was being able to spend some time at the CanadaOlympic House.

“Wewere able to talk to other Canadian fans and be around the athletesalthough I didn’t actually recognize any of them” he wrote.

“Reallyenjoyed my time in Seoul which seems like a very livable city withvery modern and effective public transit. [MP] Jamie Schmale and hiswife Julia Bryan Schmale also attended the Olympics with us” hesaid.

Brandonsaw women’s biathlon relay and men’s curling when the Canadianssquared off against the Americans and also saw the Korean nationalcurling team play.

“Atthe curling we attended the host Koreans were playing and won thegame so it was a lot of fun as the stands were full of Koreanscheering their team on. Most Korean spectators were new to the sportand seemed to be cheering the bad as loudly as the good. There were alot of school kids in the crowd and they were fun to watch” hewrote.