Olympics notebook: Interview with a Games junkie

Norman Tu is a self-described Olympics addict, attending at his seventh games. But, he says, that's the perk of owning his own company.

Ina Fried Former Staff writer, CNET News
During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley.
Ina Fried
3 min read

VANCOUVER/WHISTLER, British Columbia--There are a lot of hassles to running one's own business, but for Norman Tu of Fremont, Calif., the benefit is that he never has to miss the Olympics.

Tu, who runs DCL, a warehouse logistics company, said he is now at his seventh Olympic games, having previously attended the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games as well as summer installments in Los Angeles, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, and Beijing.

Norman Tu is at his seventh Olympic games. Sydney was the biggest party, he said, while Beijing was the most buttoned-down. Ina Fried/CNET

"L.A. is where I got hooked," said Tu, whose company helps companies like Symantec and Jawbone store inventory and handle online orders. Sydney was one of the best experiences, he said. "They know how to party," he said during a bus ride on Monday from Vancouver to Whistler.

The games in Beijing had probably the least spontaneous fun, Tu said, noting that officials were nervous any time a crowd lingered too long.

Being away from the office for the games means spending some of his time monitoring work at home, Tu said.

"I was on my computer till the wee hours of the night," he said. "Now you can work anywhere. I've got my iPhone."

Watching the games on TV just isn't enough, Tu said. "You don't get the connection," said Tu, who likes the interaction with people from all over the world. "It's across all ethnic and racial boundaries."

Vonn: Still a bumpy ride
In a Facebook update on Monday, skier Lindsey Vonn said that although she was able to win her training run earlier in the day, the practice run left her ailing shin quite sore.

"The good news is although it was really painful my leg held up ok and I won the training run," Vonn told her fans. "The bad news is my shin is really sore again. Hopefully after alot of therapy tonight it will feel better in the morning. I already iced once and right now I have the cheese wrap on :)."

Vonn was critical of the course, noting it was extremely bumpy.

"During inspection I could see the course was going to be pretty bumpy, but I don't think I was entirely prepared for just how bumpy it was," she said. "It was by far the bumpiest course I have ever skied."

You don't have to go, but you can't stand here
The paucity of snow at Cypress Mountain went from being a behind-the-scenes logistical challenge to a major nuisance as Olympics organizers canceled general admission tickets to Monday and Tuesday's snow cross.

Spinning straw into snow (photos)

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Organizers had sold about 4,000 standing-room-only tickets (at $50 apiece) to each day's competition, but said late Sunday that heavy rain meant there wouldn't be enough snow for spectators. The rains had washed away nearly a foot of snow, officials said.

"With safety the top priority and with the snowboard cross events starting in less than 24 hours, there is insufficient snow to move and build the standing room area back up at the Cypress snowboard stadium," Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) said in a statement. "VANOC has protected sufficient contingency snow for field of play at Cypress Mountain."

Indeed, the men's event went off as scheduled Monday, but the change meant fewer folks were on hand to see American Seth Wescott win in a thrilling come-from-behind final.

Owning the podium
Canada's expensive, years-long efforts to produce a better medal showing on home turf will get its first chance to celebrate on Monday night as Canadian moguls skier Alexandre Bilodeau collects his gold medal.

I'll be on hand at Whistler for the medal ceremony there and hope to have coverage yet tonight (wireless permitting).