Friday, November 23, 2007

Gold Medal Plates

Yesterday, in Ottawa, was the grand finale of Gold Medal Plates 2007. It was a whirlwind tour, but such an amazing experience (the photo at right is courtesy of Charmaine Crooks and it was taken at the Vancouver GMP Event).

The 2007 goal for GMP was to raise $1,000,000 for Canada's athletes. The final numbers are not in as of yet, but I think it should be close.

So, a few crazy things happened at the Calgary leg of the tour. Let me share.

Kelly Hrudey, a former NHL'er and now CBC Sports personality, was the MC for the dinner. Well, he decides to start the evening off with something very interesting...quoting THIS blog! This is the part he read, from my Gold Medal Plates Toronto post:

"The food and wine at the event were very swanky. There was one bottle up for auction for $14,000. Seriously, who would spend 14 grand on a bottle of wine. That would be almost $500 a sip...are you kidding me. I like wine, but I don't think I could ever appreciate it that much. I would be thinking about the new car I could buy with that money! The food was interesting as well. There was one dish that was some sort of brain, another that was various parts of a spring rolls and cheese balls here. It was very high class."


Some people laughed, I think others were a little surprised. I'm sure a few tried to burn me with glares, but I guess in all honesty, this is the way I really feel so I should stand by it. I'm sure many people are thinking it...I just happened to write it and have it announced to everyone! Thanks Kel! - This blog thing could get me into some big trouble one day. I didn't think more than 10 people read it! - I should have really wrote about how one bottle of $14,000 wine is almost equivalent to a Canadian amateur athletes annual salary. That would have really hit home.

Also in Calgary, I spoke at the VIP reception and I mentioned a little something about the great entertainment in the evening: a performance by Simon Whitfield with backup vocals by Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo. Well, this came back to bite me in the butt as well. When Jim got up to perform he brought Simon up on stage to sing with him, but then he told me to get my butt up there too. I am a horrible singer (although I think I can belt out a pretty sweet tune when I am in my car all by myself!) and I don't know the words to the song '5 days in May'. So there I am, standing on stage with Simon and Jim, looking like a total idiot with a blank stare on my face when I remembered that, being a gymnast and all, I always have party tricks up my sleeve. So I kicked up into a handstand (photo at left courtesy of Tracy Taubert) and held it for most of the song. People cheered and it was a priceless moment. I think it was definitely my fondest memory of was so good that we recreated it in Edmonton and Ottawa!
During all of the events, there were a bunch of live auction trips up for bid. Mine was a Hawaiian vacation and I will be joining a bunch of GMP guests in Maui from February 11-18th. I know, life's rough! The package sold very well and we are going to have an awesome time. We will be staying in condos in Napilli and we are going to surf, snorkel, Hula, zip line, hike, run on the beach...maybe even get a tan! I am really looking forward to the trip because it will be my last chance to unwind and relax before I need to get down to business and start getting prepared for Beijing. I think by the time Maui rolls around I should be at the point where I need a mental break and a little bit of active physical recovery too, so it is perfect timing. I am also really looking forward to spending time with the generous bidders and getting to know them on a more personal level. I have done 2 trips in the past (Quebec City in 2006 and Orlando in 2007) and I made some great friendships and had a lot of fun!
Gold Medal Plates 2007 was a huge success and I can only see it gaining momentum as the Vancouver 2010 Games approach. GE and EPCOR are the primary corporate partners of the events and they have done a wonderful job in helping raise funds for Canadian athletes! Thank You!

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