February 10, 2006
Bean jumps at chance to attend ceremony
BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

TURIN -- Jeff Bean is going to live the dream, along with the rest of the Canadian athletes competing in the Olympic Winter Games.

A member of the aerials team, the 29-year-old freestyle skier from Ottawa doesn't compete until Feb. 20, but that didn't stop him from arriving at the Games early.

Since Bean can't train at Sauze d'Oulx-Jouvenceaux -- about an hour outside Turin -- he's looking forward to marching with the other athletes in the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium tonight.

After all, this is what this event is all about: Getting a chance to wear the fancy, stylish new duds supplied by the Hudson Bay Co., which are being kept under wraps until the Canadian team emerges on the runway.

Who would want to miss it? Bean was in Salt Lake City in 2002, but the Olympics never get old. He wants to be part of this and he's got the opportunity to relax, so taking it.

"I've got four days here and I'm just going to enjoy the Olympics," Bean told the Sun yesterday. "We can't start training for four days, so I'm just going to spend my time being part of it and watching the rest of my teammates race.

'RELAX, HANG OUT'

"This is going to be fun. I've had to work so hard to get here and this is the Olympics. You want to have the experience. That's what this is all about.

"For sure, I'm going to be at the opening ceremony. We're all definitely going to take part. You don't want to miss an experience like this. I'm glad I have the time to relax, hang out and then get serious about training."

Bean has elected to stay with his teammates up at the freestyle site because he wants to watch the competitions taking place this weekend.

Jennifer Heil, an Alberta native who's a favourite to capture gold in moguls, competes tomorrow morning and Bean will be up there to wave the flag.

He knows he'll get the same kind of support when he competes later in the Games. That's why he showed up early to be part of this.

"You want to have the chance to cheer them on and support them. Look, we can't train until the 13th, so this is going to be a nice break for us and we'll get a feel for the place," said Bean, who's also a huge Senators' fan.

MIND ON MEDAL

Even though Bean is going to enjoy this a little bit and kick back for a couple of days, he hasn't forgotten about the goal: To bring a medal back home.

The golden opportunity officially gets under way for Canada tonight.