Reliving the highs of the Vancouver games

CNET's Ina Fried rides zip line through San Francisco and interviews gold medalist Ashleigh McIvor as Canadian tourism officials take Olympic act on the road.

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
2 min read

SAN FRANCISCO--I have to admit, in the six weeks since I got back from covering the Winter Games, there has been a bit of post-Olympic letdown.

So, when British Columbia tourism officials set up a zip line in San Francisco and brought a few Olympians to town, I decided I had to check it out, even if the tech angle was a little weak (as my editor was quick to point out).

Zipping back in time to the Olympics (photos)

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For the Canadians, it was a chance to show San Francisco some of what Vancouver has to offer. In addition to the zip line, British Columbia has filled the city's Embarcadero with sites and sounds of the region, including a group of First Nation dancers, a video wall of B.C. sites, and a giant chalk drawing by artist Kurt Wenner.

For me the big draw was the zip line ride, which offered a great view of San Francisco on a beautiful sunny day (see the YouTube video embedded below.) A similar zip line running through Vancouver's Robson Square was one of the most popular tourist attractions at the recent Winter Games, routinely attracting six-hour-plus lines.

But, I also had a chance to talk tech with Ashleigh McIvor, the Canadian skier who won the first-ever ski cross event at the games.

MacIvor said that, for her, the biggest technology influence is a piece of sports analysis software from Dartfish.

The video replay software lets an athlete see multiple runs of themselves or the competition side by side, in her case, showing things like which line works better through a course or how to best position oneself at the start of a race.

"It's been huge," MacIvor said, saying she's had access to the technology for about three years. It helps with decisions like when there are two jumps right next to each other. Without the software, she said, "you don't know whether it's better to double it or absorb (each bump)."

On a personal side, she said she's not in to Twitter, though her agent and at least one sponsor want her to pick up the habit.

"I'm pretty attached to my iPhone," she said. "I couldn't live without it."

For those in San Francisco, the zip line and other attractions are free through April 18, though riding the zip line does require getting in line and signing one's life away. It's along the Embarcadero, in Justin Herman Plaza (not really close to Civic Center, despite what I say in the video). Riders get a specific time frame and a wristband--a system that helps narrow the wait and something that they didn't have in Vancouver.