Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Winter Blast!


The great Olympic party ends today. From all accounts, Vancouver has hosted quite the event, the likes of which I don't think any hosting country or city has experienced to the same extent before. Hordes of celebrants have crowded the streets in all hours and weather for these past two weeks. Our family's two young graduate students in Vancouver have had trouble getting any sort of work done as the party keeps calling to them. They had once thought of renting out their apartment and going on holiday for these two weeks, but I bet they're now glad they didn't miss this once in a lifetime event.

Of course, the actual sporting event has also been quite wonderful. I wrote a week ago how happy I was that Canada had broken the jinx of never having won a gold, Olympic medal on our own soil. Since then, they have really taken off and have garnered a boatload of gold and other medals as well as having some fine non-podium results: with a snow boarding medal here and a figure skating medal there; here a snowboard medal; there a skiing medal; etc.

There are many great stories, but two stand out a little more prominently than most to me: both women who won bronze medals.

Clara Hughes is almost 38 years old, has won medals in both summer and winter Olympics over 16 years, and prevailed to earn a bronze medal in these Olympics in her last race ever: the 5000 metres in long track speed skating. It was an amazing result for someone her age, but most remarkable is her sportsmanlike attitude: someone who is happy and content to be the best that she can be when it counts most.

Joannie Rochette is our womens figure skater who also won a bronze medal in her event. Her sad but inspiring story is that her mother had a massive heart attack and died shortly after getting off the plane in Vancouver. Joannie dealt with it as best as she could, competed with heavy heart, and did well enough to step on the podium to claim a bronze medal. To me, that's a heart-warming and uplifting story, and I'm sure there are many more from every country, including amongst the non-winners of whom we hear so little.

Finally, I want to say something about the negative chatter in this country about our women having had better results than the men as if it's a competition between the sexes. It's true that the women have had somewhat better results although the men have really narrowed the gap in the past few days, but the discrepancy means little to me, for we are one team and one country, and that was simply the way that it went down this time.

It's been a grand two weeks about which Canada and the world should feel proud and positive.

15 comments:

Queenmothermamaw said...

I think every one in Canada should be proud of the games. I loved every bit of it. I loved seeing the geography of Canada, learning about our relationship over the years and feel proud to be a neighbor. I am pleased Canada won on their home turf because the media are the ones who play up all that poopoo about that and the sexist stuff. I feel closer and prouder of my association with my Canadian bloggers even more than ever. O Canada. If this country keeps on in the direction it is going, we are moving to Canada. If they would have us.
QMM

Mara said...

Hear hear!!!

The only negative thing for me was the time everything was broadcast: late at night, early in the morning. I need another week's holiday to recuperate...

Holly, the Old Western Gal said...

As they say around here, "Canada done good!"

I had no idea anyone was comparing the mens' medals to the ladies'. It counts for Canada either way, right?

Ruth said...

I am sleep deprived from staying up too late, but have enjoyed the games very much. I am not a fan of professional sports, but love the stories of courage and determination you have described.

Ginnie said...

As I comment here the TV is on and the Hockey Game between the U.S. & Canada is going on. I have no idea who will win ... but it doesn't matter to me. It's been a wonderful Olympics and Canada had good reasons to be proud.

Bernie said...

Love this post, my own thoughts exactly....those moments are the ones I would of chosen as well, I so admire Clara Hughes and at 37 I
thought she was amazing. That little skater did so well and I am sure she is still in shock from everything....the crash will be severe when it happens.....:-) Hugs

Heather Plett said...

If I were to write a post about the Olympics, I would highlight the exact same two Olympians. My new heroes! And I agree about the male-female thing - irrelevant.

Lorna said...

Amen!!!

Diana said...

Congratulations to Canada on their Hockey win today!
Love Di

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

A nice thoughtful post. As I write this I know the Canadian Men beat the US Men in hockey in a storybook fashion: by one goal, in overtime. scored by the young but talented Mr Crosby. For Canadians this a icing on the cake if not a required result for the games to be a success.

I learned of the result as I drove by North Bay going home. Some boys were on the corner waving Canadian flags. We rolled down out window as did the car next to us and they told us the score. By this time all the cars on the street begain honking their horns.

For some strange reason, hockey unites us as a people. Great moments in hockey are remembered and celebrated for years into the future. This Olympic result will be one of those.

Donna said...

Congratulations to Team Canada!!! It was a Great hockey game! I was jumping!!!Hahaaa...
Well Done Canada!!
hughugs

JunieRose2005 said...

Congrats to Canada!

Yes! You done good-Canada! :)


Junie

Bachelor said...

AC,
I'm so happy for our brothers to the North. Canada won 14 gold medals! Yeah! That is a great accomplishment and on home turf.. With each win, my excitement for you guys increased. So extremely happy for Rochelle... she was truly amazing!! Party time!!
:) The Bach

Mary said...

Clara Hughes has one of the cutest smiles I have ever seen. Every time I see a picture or interview with her, she's been over-the-moon happy, smiling and oooooozing happiness. She is a wonderful role model and a wonderful Canadian.

Loved this post, John.

Mary G said...

You said it for me! But I would add Bilodeau. him and his brother.