The early birds

By Rick MacDonnell, SnowSeekers Inc.

For Ann Drabble and Nancy Fehr, volunteering during the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary, Alberta wasn't just a full-time job, it was a full-time job on top of a full-time job. Both teachers (now retired), the ladies would teach until 5 p.m. every day before heading to the old airport.

"After the athletes got off their planes at the new airport," said Fehr, "they would get transported to the old airport, where we'd help them get their pictures taken, supply them with their IDs, and everything. Basically, we were in charge of providing the athletes accreditation throughout the games."

"They couldn't go anywhere or do anything without their accreditation," Drabble said. "We had all the power," she laughed.

The pair also volunteered for the 2010 games in Vancouver and were accepted, but due to some unfortunate circumstances they will not be able to attend. They took some solace in the celebration at Canada Olympic Park today, though.

"This is a great experience," Fehr said. "We're reliving the whole (Olympic) experience again. It reminds me of when Calgary had the 20th anniversary here two years ago, and Eddie the Eagle was here, and a lot of the Olympic athletes and family were here. It's so great to catch up with people and experience everything together again."

When asked why they decided, of all the Calgary-area festivities, to come out to the COP Torch relay, they had one unified answer. "This is the one where they were giving out cowbells!"

"We want to ring them when the torch bearers come," Drabble said. "The first 500 people got them, and we got the first two. We started a waiting line, we wanted to get them so badly. We were even the first two to get the pancakes!"

Fehr, feigning annoyance, turned to me with a smirk, "She picked me up at 6:15."

Unapologetically, Drabble replied, "When something like the Olympics happens, we're right in there."

Make sure to catch the Travel Alberta Olympic Torch Relay videos on YouTube at

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