Red, white and gold: The euphoria of athletic success and spirit overshadows initial follies of the games
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.
First-year journalism students are covering the Olympic Torch Run, as it moves through Vancouver today (Thursday). This is the first of what will be several slideshows showing the run and the students’ work.
Note: the slideshows are actually appearing here.
On Thursday, Feb. 11, first-year journalism students will be following the Winter Olympic torch run as it enters Vancouver, from Burnaby, and makes its way across the city. The slideshow of their work will be updated throughout the day, beginning in the early afternoon.
As the countdown for the Winter Olympics went from weeks to days, Kwantlen journalism students spent Wednesday on the streets of Vancouver, capturing images of the city. They went out to explore four different themes: display, excitement, disruption and dissent. The results — more than 80 photos — are presented in the following four slideshows.
Kwantlenâ€™s newest Olympic partnership with the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympics Winter GamesÂ is more than just business.
As the Olympic committee gains extra parking space at all Kwantlen campuses during the Olympics, Kwantlen students will be reaping the benefits as they are exposed to a variety of opportunities.
Mary Jane Stenberg, executive director of external affairs at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, has been working on the project with staff for several years, and is excited to get students involved with the Olympics. Working closely with VANOC, Stenberg has seen her Olympic project grow vastly since sponsorship was first suggested.
Details of how the partnership began remain foggy, as the project passed through the hands of Kwantlenâ€™s former vice-president David Ross several years ago.
â€œThe initial [suggestion] was made from VANOC to Kwantlen,â€ said Stenberg.
As part of the Kwantlen-VANOC sponsorship students will gain direct access to the Vancouver Olympic Games through volunteer positions.
â€œWe have already had recruitments for any kind of volunteer opportunity you can imagine,â€ said Stenberg. â€œThese have been available to all students at all campusesâ€.
Volunteer opportunities range from venue-managing to media relations as well as participating in opening and closing ceremonies.
â€œThey are still looking for volunteers,â€ said Stenberg. â€œWhat we ask them [students] to do is go through the VANOC websiteâ€
Aside from volunteer opportunities, Kwantlen students will also have the possibility to purchase hard-to-find Olympic event tickets.
As a sponsor for the 2010 Games Kwantlen was allowed to purchase a limited amount of Olympic tickets to sell to their students.Â Within the next month, students will be able to access a website specially designed for the purchase of tickets. Their names will then be entered in a lottery.
â€œStudent will have five days to come in and purchase the tickets,â€ said Stenberg, â€œor we will go to the next name on the list.â€
As part of the Olympic Contributor agreement, Kwantlen was also allowed to pick a person to be the torchbearer on the Langley leg of the Olympic torch run.
After students and staff entered an online questionnaire early last year, Kwantlen has announced Suzanne ten Haaf, a business student, will be representing Kwantlen on Feb. 8, on the 102nd day of the Olympic Torch Relay Route.