Red, white and gold: The euphoria of athletic success and spirit overshadows initial follies of the games

March 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

With dark clouds looming over the opening ceremony, we were shocked to hear of the death of the Georgia’s young luging contender, Nodar Kumaritasvili.

Later that night in B.C. Place, the world waited for the hydraulics to lift the Olympic caldron from the bowels of the stadium and we winced as Catriona Le May Doan was robbed of her opportunity to light the caldron.

Then there were the mass protests, the destruction of HBC’s windows, and, of course, there was no snow on our coastal mountains.

The Vancouver Olympic Games did not start off the way we had imagined but something happened that changed the course of the two-week event.

On Feb. 14, as Alex Bliodeau came cascading down Cypress Mountain, Canadians had something to celebrate: Canada’s first gold medal at the Vancouver Olympic Games, as well as Canada’s first gold medal on home soil.

Suddenly, the hiccups of the opening ceremony seemed to be a thing of the past. Canadians were more interested in what could be, instead of what was.

As our athletes became national icons, volumes of stories emerged from many of our Canadian contenders and presented the diverse personalities taking part in the Olympic games.

These stories of personal success and overcoming emotion played an important role in winning the spirit of Canadians across the country.

We devoutly watched Joannie Rochette perform her figure skating routine only days after her mother’s death.

We felt a connection with the unrelentless admiration Frederic Bilodeau displayed while his brother, Alexandre Bilodeau, finished his gold-medal run.

It seemed as though we drank from the same pitcher as Jon Montgomery paraded through the streets of Whistler after winning gold in men’s skeleton.

And for many of us, time stopped as the USA’s Zack Parise scored to force overtime during the gold-medal men’s hockey final.

But as Sid “The kid” Crosby scored at 7:40 in overtime, the whole nation came together to cheer for the impressive results of Canada’s best performance at an Olympic games.

From Coal Harbour to Kandahar, we raised flags and cheered for our success as a competitive nation and toted around the reality that our country must be doing something right.

As the flame was extinguished and the party continued into the night, we found our voice and our pride in two weeks in February.

And now we have a chance to move forward and face the challenges of our future as a nation.

If we must look back at the games of 2010, let us remember a generation of strength, spirit and pride for our nation.