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German reporter slipped security to join athletes in closing ceremony

How tightly protected were the world’s Olympic athletes when all were gathered together in Vancouver’s closing ceremonies viewed by millions across the world? A billion dollars worth of security didn’t prevent a German reporter from getting lost on his way find a bite to eat, then letting himself be swept onto the main floor of BC Place unchallenged, recording with his cell phone as the pageantry unfolded around him.

Florian Kinast, who reports for the German publication Abendzeitung based in Munich, has posted videos he took of his experience on his blog. He shared his impressions with The Tyee in an email.

“I had the impression Canadians liked to be hosts and welcome the world. And after my experience in Beijing in 2008 it was impressive to see that peaceful protests and demonstrations were allowed [whether] it was the red tents or demonstrations I saw in front on the Media Centre. This was a very good example of democracy in my eyes.

“The two highlights I had were on the very last day, first to cover the Hockey-Final live in the stadium, the most intense atmosphere I had ever experienced in any sport event, more than in the Soccer World-Cup-Final 2006 in Berlin. The audience was going crazy, and I think the whole nation did as well.

“What topped the whole thing was . . . when I went to see the Closing Ceremony. I was just looking for food in the BC-Place-Stadium, got completely lost and finally ended up among the athletes on ground floor who were just about to march into the stadium. I did not have to pass a single security-check, can you imagine? So after a short hesitation I decided to join the athletes, [going] together with them into the stadium and no one bothered. It was great fun...”

David Beers is editor of The Tyee.

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