I’m not someone who gets excited about the Olympics. Back in November, I was already saying that I couldn’t wait for the 2010 Games to be over, because I was sick of all the hype we were getting here in Canada.
Despite this, I decided to watch the Opening Ceremonies on February 12th. I thought I would watch as long as it was interesting. I loved the stories of Canada that were told. I watched it to the end.
I caught Olympic fever. I saw athletes accomplish the most amazing feats, like Slovenian cross-country skiier Petra Madjic who skiied with broken ribs and a punctured lung. And won a bronze medal! I began to cheer the athletes on. To feel pride when they achieved their goals. And heartbreak when they didn’t. These Olympic Games have been so exciting and exhilarating. They have been made of many great moments, and difficult ones too.
The most touching and amazing of these was perhaps Joannie Rochette. Her mother passed away after arriving in Vancouver, just 2 days before Joannie’s competition began. I can’t even imagine how she was able to get herself together enough to skate. And she didn’t just skate in the event. Joannie won a bronze medal. That kind of strength in the face of such tremendous loss is astounding. I’m sure her mother would be incredibly proud of her.
The most exciting event for me was perhaps the men’s 5000m relay in short track speed skating. I didn’t see this event live. I watched it on the internet the next day. Even though I knew the results before watching, it was so exciting to see.
Today’s gold medal game in men’s hockey was so stressful. How is it that even though none of us are playing the game, we take such pride in the win? I did nothing that affected the outcome of that game, yet the win was exciting and meaningful. Just as every success that a Canadian athlete had at these games was a cause to feel pride.
I watched these games with pride. I love being Canadian, I’ve always been proud to be Canadian, yet somehow during the past two weeks I have felt even more pride to be Canadian. I feel connected to other Canadians across the country. It’s a great feeling, though I know it won’t last. But now I finally understand why people get so excited about Olympic Games.
And now, with the exception of the Closing Ceremonies, the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics are over. I hope that the legacy of these games in Canada will be a commitment to amateur sports, that funding for them will continue. We can’t just fund athletes once they are world class athletes. We need to support sports for young children so that they can grow into world class athletes. Canada has just had its best winter games ever. Let’s put things into place so that these kinds of things can happen again.
This proud Canadian, who couldn’t wait for the Games to be over before they had even begun, is sad to see them end…