I think I've mentioned here before that Olympic tickets were issued by a lottery system. I learned that my sister and I had scored tickets to the Opening Ceremonies and the Ice Dance Final back in about December 2008. We were pretty excited that we would be attending these events, but the Olympics seemed so far away at that point. As 2009 progressed, I would tell people almost apologetically that I would be attending Olympic events. There was a lot of controversy about whether or not our province should be having the Olympics because of the impact on things like health care and social services, and this criticism is quite valid.
As the weeks to the Olympics approached, there started to be lots of excitement building about the Olympics, spurred on by the Torch crossing our country. A winter Olympic fan since childhood (I have memories of past Games going back to about 1972) I began to get excited. In the last week or so before the Opening Ceremonies I was counting the sleeps until the big event, just like a kid counting down the arrival of Santa! The Opening Ceremonies were phenomenal. People would ask me what my favourite part of them was, and I have not been able to answer that question. I returned home the day after the Opening Ceremonies and worked that following week.
I returned to Vancouver the next weekend in anticipation of the Ice Dance Final on Monday. Wow, what an experience that was. Once again we were in nosebleed seats, but seeing my home country win Gold was pretty amazing. I will never forget seeing Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir receive their medals, the Maple Leaf being raised, and the crowd enthusiastically singing Oh Canada. I admit my eyes watered at that point.
I spent the next few days wandering around Vancouver. Tuesday night found me on Robson Street just as Joannie Rochette's short program was projected live on the side of a building. Lots of people stopped to watch this brave performance.
Wednesday night we were once again on Robson street, this time to experience the announcement that Canada had won both Gold and Silver in Ladies Two Man Bobsled. The crowd was so excited, lots of flags waving and Oh Canada being sung. Pretty exciting.
I'm very thankful to have had the opportunity to spend time in Vancouver during the Olympics. Seeing the excited crowds waving and wearing Canadian flags, expressing their love and enthusiasm for their country has been awesome. It's been great that Canada has done really well at the Olympics we hosted, but it's not even this that makes these Games so successful. It has brought out a sense of patriotism in our country. We are admittedly a rather modest nation that has not shown the same kind of patriotism as our neigbours to the south. Until now. My online Canadian friends (mostly on Facebook) have been regularly updating their status to reflect their support for Canadian Olympians and the experience overall. And I have Facebook friends located right across the country. I think it has brought us closer together as a country, and while I've always been Proud to be Canadian, never has this been so true as the last couple weeks. I should also mention that my online American friends have also been supportive of Canadians during these Olympics, so one could also say that it has brought us closer together and changed our relationships as well.
As the Olympics come to a close today, my hope for all of us is that we will continue to embrace this enthusiasm in the days, week, months, and even years ahead. Personally, I don't think an event such as this has ever impacted me to this level. I'm blogging this mostly for myself because I don't ever want to forget the emotions I'm feeling right now.