Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tomorrow Night We Shine- The Olympics are HERE!!!!

I hate to open with a beer commercial... but there are some Canadian cliches that just cant be denied...

Here in Canada we are certainly not known for being overtly patriotic but, by this time tomorrow evening, when the 2010 Olympic Games open in Vancouver, I think the world may be surprised to discover that we, these quiet and unassuming Canadians have a whole lotta love for our country...

Seven years ago, when it was announced that Vancouver had won its bid for the games, there was no sense of reality about it... Like a child trying to contemplate a month long wait before a trip to Disney land, the idea that we would get the chance to shine under the spotlight on a World stage seemed too distant to contemplate....

The idea that roads, event facilities, accommodation and so much more would have to be built; that transportation, security, and a great opening ceremony would have to be planned- a pipe dream. And then, of course, there were the protesters, the naysayers and the less fervent friends and family that were opposed to the games and the inconveniences and costs they would create.

But then construction started. The road to my hometown was torn up and blasted away to create a wider highway, streets in Vancouver were opened whole to build a underground rail line from the airport to the city, Richmond's Speed Skating Oval was completed, mascots (Sumi, Quatchy and Miga) were unveiled and the Vancouver 2010 logo, with it's bright Olympic rings began to appear on merchandise and in commercials. The Games suddenly became much more real.

And then, as tomorrows long awaited date neared, the Olympic filled news and papers- overruns on budgets, protester rallies, and security concerns. This week British Colombians worried over the unseasonably warm weather, the lack of snow on Cypress, and speculated over who would make that finally leg to light the last cauldron and officially open the games.

It was a slow thing, almost unassuming, the way the fervor built- commercials featuring Canadian athletes pitching the slogan "Do You Believe", their stories, steeped in sentimentality and brought to life by the rich timbered voice of Donald Sutherland, struck a chord.

But it wasn't until the Olympic torch returned to British Columbia, having traveled overland through the Provinces and into the small towns across our nation, that the slow burning but fierce Canadian pride was ignited and with it, the reality of the Vancouver Olympics touched home.

Two days ago I awoke before dawn to the sound of cheering in the street. The Olympic flame was making it's way through the sleepy street of my hometown and though it was five in the morning, nearly a third of this cities population lined the streets to sing O'Canada. And so it was in other cities, where thousands turned out to pay homage, dressed in red and white, waving Canadian flags and cheering local heroes, musicians, and yes, hockey players, as they took their turn to carry the flame.

We Canadians don't normally wear our patriotism for all to see, but tomorrow evening I think we'll make an exception. The stage is set, the athletes are here and we are ready to host these games... more than that, we're ready to win GOLD!

Below- Mom was the first (of course) to jump in and ask this torch holder for a picture!


  1. This is without a doubt, the best blog you have ever written and you brought tears to my eyes tonight. You have so eloquently spoken the sentiments of our country Canada. I marvel at our country but I marvel even more that, just as in your drawings, you are able to so clearly express the emotions of your subject, with this blog you have expressed what it is to be a Canadian and the pride we carry that we are hosting the 2010 Olympics! I'm sure there will a percentage of people who will continue to protest but I can say without a doubt the Olympic fever is at a pitch and we are proud to say we are Canadian!

  2. Do you beleive? Yes, and more than that, it's UNBELEIVABLE!!!

    I beleive that the World has already won Gold for letting us host this awesome event in this beautiful City, in this beautiful Province, in this beautiful Country.

    GO CANADA GO!!!!!!

  3. Well said!!! (I sooooo need to move out West, lol)

    I work for the RCMP and things are pretty quiet around here as alot of members have gone out to Vancouver for security work. One of my good friends is there and I'm hoping to hear some behind the scenes news from him. It's kind of neat how the whole country is a part of the games in some way...

    I'm getting pretty excited to watch the games - I love the speed skating, bobsled and hockey, of course!

    It must be pretty exciting to head into the city to see all the people/events/etc. - well, it is probably annoying for the locals...

  4. That's so exciting for you, your city, and your province. I'll be watching.

  5. Ah, you gave me goosebumps! That was so beautifully written. How amazing it must have been to have the Olympic torch carried right down the middle of your town! How exciting to be so close to the action. I cannot wait for the games to start, and especially the Opening Ceremony tonight. Hopefully I won't miss it!

  6. Just for you: Go Canada! :) I'm just finishing watching the opening ceremony....I personally thought it is amazing! I loved it. What technology can now do....the Joni Mitchell song with the solo flyer.....tears! (I love that song.)
    Sadness, though, over the death of the luge athlete....let's hope the rest of the games are of peace, good competition, and joy!
    p.s. I skied once at Cypress! Well, "skied" is stetching the truth....I tried! I skied between someone else's skiis and fell a lot, LOL!

  7. I've never been prouder to be a Canadian. Thank you for this lovely post! Vancouver is my hometown and always will be, no matter how far I stray.

  8. I've always said that we Canadians are a proud and very patriot bunch... we're just not very loud and 'in your face' about it :)

    The protests were a bit disheartening. Sadly almost any large international event brings them out.

    Did you know gold has never been won by a Canadian at an Olympics held in Canada? Let's change that this year!!

  9. Pide built within me yet again while reading your post. As you know, I too am Canadian and from roughly the same area in the Lower Mainland as you. I watchd the torch come through our streets Monday morning. THe opening ceremonies brought tears to my eyes. And as saddened as I was over the loss of the Georgian luge athlete, I was happy to see just how much the officials integrated sympathy over his loss throughout the ceremonies. As they asked every athlete from around the world to carry him in their hearts as they compete. I am also proud to say that canada has just won it's first gold medal for these olympics in the Mens Mogules, and hope it is the first of many over the next couple weeks! I beleive, and I have never been more proud to be Canadian!

  10. I love the Olympics! Great post.