Fans deserve gold for patience

By RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER — Everywhere you go, there are stunning examples of physical and mental toughness.

Inspirational stories of people from all nations pushing their bodies to extreme limits and surviving on sheer willpower.

And they’re not even athletes.

They are the — some would say, ahem, crazy — people willing to wait in impossibly long, Olympic-sized lineups.

Want to take a 20-second zip line ride over jammed Robson Street? Six hour wait.

Touch — but not wear — an actual Olympic medal at the Royal Canadian Mint? Four-to-six hours.

Buy a pair of red mittens at The Bay Olympics Superstore? An hour.

Welcome to Vancouver, where if you want to see something cool, get ready for a queue.

The Olympic motto here shouldn’t be “Faster, Higher, Stronger.” It should be “Patience.”

Vancouver residents Julio and Melissa Rios have it.

They waited forever for the zip line ride. Canadian skeleton star Jon Montgomery went through personal sacrifice and risk to slide for Olympic gold, but he never had to endure this.

“It was worth it,” Melissa said. “It’s long but you meet so many people from everywhere. You just talk, talk, talk.”

Dee Murdoch will never win an Olympic gold medal the way moguls king Alex Bilodeau did.

But she and “teammates” Lauren and Jody Shiels waited five hours at the Mint to touch one. They took a ferry at 4:30 a.m. from Nanaimo so they could be near the front of the line that snaked a few blocks down Granville St.

Would they do the same for a Stanley Cup close-up?

“You think I wouldn’t,” said Murdoch, pulling out a cellphone with a Pittsburgh Penguins logo on it. “Absolutely.”

“I’d stand that long,” 17-year-old Lauren said, “just to see a hockey game.”

How about dinner? A line into Earl’s Restaurant the other night was 90 minutes. Not exactly fast food.

“That’s different,” Bennett said. “You’d get too hungry. You can have food while you stand in line.”

Jan Mercado and daughter Jen Bennett are from San Jose. They thought the medal exhibit was worth it.

“Two minutes, security lets you touch them with white gloves and you can take pictures,” Mercado said. “You can’t wear the medal and you can’t act like you won it. You’re in there for about 10 minutes with 15 people.”

Bennett went to the Salt Lake City Olympics eight years ago. There weren’t any lines.

“It was after 9/11 so it was totally different,” she said. “This is great. Really. Everywhere we’ve been, we’ve met Canadians and every one of them is so polite. Even when they’re drunk, it’s not like they’re scary drunk.”

That’s a nice endorsement for the home side. Of course, all that could change if the United States men’s hockey team scores one more goal than the Canadians Sunday.

Then, the lines that matter most are the ones coach Mike Babcock will obviously have to shuffle up.

ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca

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