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Ohno Fan's Olympic Dream Almost Sails Off

By Lita Beck
|  Friday, Feb 5, 2010  |  Updated 3:18 PM CDT
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Speedskating Fan Doesn't Let Olympic Trip Float Away

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A North Texas Apolo Ohno fan almost missed her chance to see her fave (hopefully) win gold.

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Speedskating Fan Doesn't Let Olympic Trip Float Away

A North Texas woman nearly missed a trip of lifetime when the travel company that sold her a room aboard "floating hotel" grounded its plans.
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A speedskating fan nearly missed a trip of lifetime when the travel company that sold her a room aboard a "floating hotel" grounded its plans.

Apolo Ohno fan Carol Oldham planned to stay aboard a luxury cruise ship that would be docked in Vancouver for the upcoming Olympics.

"It is that once-in-a-lifetime, bucket-list opportunity," she said.

But Newwest Special Projects, based in Edmonton,Alberta, pulled the plug on its plan for the floating hotel less than two weeks before the start of the Winter Games.

"We had a balcony, nighttime view of the city, and we were so excited until Monday, February the first at around 8:15 a.m., Texas time," Oldham said.

Oldham and a few of her friends paid a total of about $4,000 to book rooms aboard the Norwegian Star. But the last-minute cancellations left them -- and hundreds of others -- without a place to stay.

"We were just, you know, lost," she said. "We didn't know what to do."

Oldham is also out the price of the rooms, at least for now. A recorded message asks customers for patience while Newwest processes refunds, the New York Times reported.

But Oldham was determined to get to Vancouver to see Ohno skate. She reached out to friends, Internet companies and anyone who might be able to help until she found a room.

"We scored one today, about 1:15 (p.m.)," she said.

And now she's hoping to see Ohno make history.

"I'll predict gold, OK?" she said with a laugh.

The travel company said it was canceling its plans because of slow sales and higher-than-anticipated expenses, the Associated Press reported.

The Toronto Star reported that about 1,000 had bookings with Newwest, including 11 seriously ill children and their families from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Last year, Newwest said it hoped to fill the cruise ship's 1,119 staterooms with 8,960 guests over the course of the Olympics.

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