Let’s face it. These Vancouver Winter Olympic Games got off to a rocky start. The snow melting away at Cypress Mountain. Then, the tragic death of the Georgian luger on day one of the Games. An embarrassing malfunction at the worst possible moment during the opening ceremonies. The cauldron being cruelly fenced off from the public. The number of canceled tickets and event delays wasn’t setting up Vancouver for success.
It seemed as though Canada wouldn’t recover from that stumbling start and that was before we realized it wouldn’t be so easy to ‘Own the Podium’
But even as those inside Vancouver’s Olympic Committee (VANOC) faced these problems, things started changing.
Little did we know that Canada’s magical 17-day success was going set to begin. Alexandre Bilodeau won the historic first gold medal by a host nation.
We didn’t need to own anything. What mattered was the event. What mattered was the possibility to wave the flag for our country.
The momentum Canada experienced began when the torch relay started to make its way across the country. Hand in hand, we were letting ourselves carried by the wave of enthusiasm. It felt good. Moments of anxiety and frustration were gripping a nation from coast to coast. The celebration was well underway. It wasn’t like we needed to focus on medals, but really on the celebration.
Swarms of people flooded Robson Street day and night huddled around storefront televisions watching and cheering their Olympians on.
It didn’t matter who they were or where they came from. Canadians were just there to live the experience. Olympic fever had its firm grip on Canadians. This was about waving the flag.
This wasn’t about medals but really about the pride of a nation standing behind its athletes. They assembled in community halls, at bars, restaurants, their offices and in their homes jumping for joy and breaking into deafening cheers over victory. They also reached out and shared their pain and sorrow when things didn’t turn out so well.
Not since Lillehammer, have Winter Games brought out such excitement. Canada is the envy of the world and now set to build a lasting legacy that will last generations and be passed along to future generations. When they look back and see the historic 14-gold medal win that legacy will continue to grow for many generations to come. Congratulations Canada. You did great. You own the podium.
- Vancouver 2010 : click here for more news stories from the Winter Olympics.