Friday, February 26, 2010

Pride

I have been in many countries around the world and in every one of them, I wore a bag that had a Canadian flag on my backpack. Each new place I would visit would make me more proud than the last to be a Canadian.

It wasn't that there was anything wrong with the places or the people I was visiting, just that you realise you are who you are because of where you're from and it makes you feel even stronger about where you're from.

I don't know if it's because I'm here in the city of the Olympics or because age and travel have made me realise even more how great this country is or even if it is the nostalgia that comes with remembering the young girl who used to pump her fists at the end of a lap 'pracitcing' winning a gold medal or if in fact, it is all these reasons, but I have never felt prouder to be Canadian.

There is a sea of red everywhere you turn. Gloves. Hats. T-shirts. Sweatshirts. Painted chests. You name it. All red.

There are outburst of 'Go Canada Go' and impromptu singing of the national anthem. There are people of all ages cheering in the streets, high fiving each other, fist pumping and whooping it up.

And apologizing. Lots and lots of bumping into each other. Lots of "Oh I'm sorry". Lots and lots.

There is massive support. Not just for the Canadian events.You can see on the TV that all of the stands at all the events are usually full, whether its Finland against Norway or Canada versus the U.S.

We have always been a people who are very proud but we do it in a non-confrontational-i'm-sorry sort of way. It's when you hear other new organisations around the world praising the games, the organizers, the fans, the athletes that you really feel your heart bursting with pride.

I am proud of all our successes. The Own the Podium program seems to have shifted the way we think about the Olympics. It's no longer 'we tried our best' it's 'we're here to win'.

But what I'm most proud of is how we are hosting the world. It's cliche and sounds completely overdone but in plain in simple terms that's what we're doing. We are showing the world what Canada is all about. It's not just 'eh' and moose, Mounties and the McKenzie brothers.

It is atheletes with exceptional composure, ability and class. It is people who will cheer for the underdog, point a lost person in the right direction or even simply share a smile across a crowded sky train.


There are only 4 days left of these amazing games. I've been so lucky to share this with a few special people.

Perhaps that's what has made it so special and go by so quickly. I'm looking forward to heading back into the city streets one more time this weekend to soak up the atmosphere. I will be sad when it's over but realise how special it has been that I was part of this extraordinary world event.

My Olympic lesson? No matter how far I go or what country I live in, I will always be Canadian and always be proud to be one. Always.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ya, about that sunshine

I'm certain many of you have read stories about the beautiful weather we're having out here! Um, ya, I would say this is probably the warmest destination for a winter Olympics, though part of me is wondering why people are so puzzled.

I've always known Vancouver as the 'warm part' of Canada, a place where rain pelts down but snow rarely does.

And so while I get the agast-ness of Whistler not being cold and frigid and filled with snow, I'm wondering why there wasn't some hesitation with Cypress Mountain, which is not far from Vancouver and whether or not it was the best selection for events that need snow.

Let's face it - I'm learning the Olympics live are about many amazing things and those things also include walking long distances and waiting in line. I would say both of these activities are exciting in their own way, mostly because they help you soak up the anticipation of the events and the atmosphere.

However, they would NOT be enjoyable if we were in minus temperatures. I WOULD NOT be venturing out if it was snowing everywhere. The Olympic Games live would actually feel similar to the Olympics Games Anywhere else - staying inside to catch all the action.

So, while I know we need the snow for the events, I can't say I'm going to complain about the great weather we're having. Because it's actually contributing to a much better Olympic experience.

And for me, that's what it's all about.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Olympic Fever

It is day 4 of the Olympics and already I feel like I'm in this spectacular global village bubble of red and white.

Leading up to Friday for the opening ceremonies, I was a giddy as a little on Christmas Eve. The idea that in my lifetime, I would get to live in a city that was hosting the Olympics. It just didn't seem real.

And yet, 1000s of people who already live here have had that opportunity since the announcement began, anticipating the world arriving.

It wasn't just the world arriving I was excited about - E and the Tyeger were arriving the day of the opening ceremonies and I was so excited to share it with them. Plus, sharing anything with a 5 year old always makes it more fun :)



We've had the TV on solidly for 3 days straight. And, we already taken in a few of the highlights of an Olympic live experience: heading out to the venues, going to see the beautiful torch and of course waiting in line for tickets.

It's a bit of two worlds in a way: our mornings and late afternoons watching events from the comfort of our TV and our mid-days filled with soaking up the atmosphere that can only be had by being here.

There have been a lot of 'special moments' for me, otherwise known tear-fests. Since I'm liable to tear up at a milk commercial, you can imagine the stories I've been hearing have been putting me over the edge. Thank goodness for the 10 boxes of tissues I purchased before the games.

I haven't even gone to a live event yet. I have this image of my whole heart exploding with pride. Because it can't beat any louder.