Working at the Olympics? Unhappy about your Accommodations?
Saturday, January 9, 2010
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Giant Olympic Rings hover above us at the International Broadcast Centre.
Torino, Italy. February 2006.


I have been hearing some people - who will be coming to Vancouver to work on the broadcast side of the XXI Olympic Winter Games - complaining about their accommodations. Some are even threatening to not even come now!

Many of us who travel for work frequently are usually put up in rather nice hotels like The Westin, Sheraton, Marriott, Fairmont etc. Many are complaining about the fact that they aren't staying in a 4 or 5-star hotel at the Olympics or they're angry that they are a 20-minute train ride from the Venue they are working.

Keep this in mind as you complain:

Normally at an Olympics they build a Media Village and put all media and broadcast personnel up together. After the games, they often turn the Media Village into student or affordable housing.

In Vancouver, they chose not to go that route and there are only SO many hotel rooms. Believe me, if you are in your own room in ANY hotel for an Olympics, consider yourself lucky. At the XX Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, I was at the Verolengo Media Village. It was considered one of the better Media Villages. The stories I heard about some of the others (like one dubbed Gulag 13) were horrendous.


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The small corridor of my accommodations at Verolengo.
• Door on the left leads to the shared bathroom.
• Door in the middle (open) is the entrance to my room.
• Door on the right is the main entrance for my roommate and me.

With these accomodations come the notion that you get a tiny private room and share a bathroom with someone. No kitchen.

That being said, the room I had wasn't dirty or anything. In fact, it was brand new. So new that I had to go down to the desk to ask that my "elettricità" be turned on! But, it was small and uncomfortable.







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Top: Looking through the door into my room. Yes, there was a lock on the door. The glass doors lead to a small balcony with a view to kill for.

Middle: The small desk with a TV that had many of the world's broadcasters on it. CBC Toronto, baby. Yeah! The bottle of 1999 Barolo ended up being a gift for a friend. In Canada it was worth almost $100. I got it for €0!

Bottom:
The tiny Twin bed I slept on for 21 days.

Oh yeah. I can't forget to show you the wonderful view I had from the balcony:

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I had to share the bathroom that came along with this room. Not too bad if your roommate isn't messy or smelly. (Thanks for not being either Ed Eyto if you can read this in London)

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The bathroom I shared in Torino. Note the shower "tray" and accompanying curtain that didn't keep water inside the "tray." After every shower there was always a huge puddle on the floor. That was even after tucking it in and putting shampoo bottles on top to keep it in place.

I'd like to add that every day I had to take a bus back and forth from the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) and it was 40 minutes each way. Makes the 20 minute Canada line ride some will take in February 2010 look like an Indy Car race...okay maybe not.

Without sounding like I'm rambling. If you're coming to work the 2010 Olympics and you're not happy with your accommodations, look at these photos and count your lucky stars. Others in Torino had it worse. I also heard the accommodations in Athens in 2004 were worse than THAT!

I suppose all this is easy to say from someone who will actually be sleeping in his own bed for these Olympics.

Now...for those of us who live in Vancouver, we can now prepare ourselves for Olympic-sized traffic jams! Get ready to avoid those "Olympic Lanes!"

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And in case you missed it, here's a link to the blog I wrote while in Torino: Of Almost Olympic Proportions


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