Wednesday, March 03, 2010

What the Vancouver Olympics meant to Canada


The Olympics are over, and many of us Canadians are experiencing a serious post-Olympic hangover -- it was such a high, after all, and it's hard now to adjust back to "normalcy" -- but there is no denying that the Vancouver Winter Games was a deeply meaningful event for this country. Whether there is a long-term effect remains to be seen, but I do think the Olympics tapped our deep reservoir of rarely seen national pride in a way that few events ever have, if any at all to this degree. It felt good to win, but it also felt good to display ourselves, and our wonderful country, to the world.

Here's what I wrote Sunday night, when it was all over:

It's been a wonderful two-plus weeks, with some wonderful moments. When we won the hockey gold today, I jumped off the couch and celebrated like I rarely do for anything. I can't remember ever being that excited for a sporting event. Maybe when the Steelers won the Super Bowl last year, but not even that matched today. That win was the highlight, along with the men's curling win, but I found myself cheering on my fellow Canadians -- and genuinely appreciating the athletes from all the countries -- frequently. Whatever it was -- short-track speedskating or skeleton, even figure staking -- I was there, and I was united with the rest of Canada, urging our men and women on.

It's hard to believe, actually, that the Olympics could mean this much to me, or to Canadians generally, but they did, and now they're over, and hopefully some of that togetherness will persist.

There's a reason this is the greatest country in the world. And it was on full display these past couple of weeks.

No one put it better, though, than Stephen Brunt, our finest sportswriter and commentator (writing for The Globe and Mail and appearing regularly on radio and TV). This is a video essay he put together on what the Olympics meant to Canada. (It's introduced by Brian Williams, the main studio host for CTV.) It's brilliant, it's magnificent, it's beautiful, it's moving, and, as far as I'm concerned, it's right on. And, amazingly, it was done before our historic gold-medal hockey win on Sunday, the singular triumph that really brought this country together.

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  • Canada is really just the 51st state, and it ranks as the bluest of the blue. Bluer than Mass. Bluer than Vermont. How many Electoral College votes do you have?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:01 PM  

  • Well done. With one ignorant comment like that you have exemplified what Canadians are most proud of. I don't mean our record breaking 14 Winter Olympic gold medals (shattering the previous host country gold medal count) and I'm not talking about our great healthcare system, mostly because every other industrialized country has universal health care too. Basically, as Canadians, we are just proud we aren't Americans. Yes, there are a lot of great American people who are just as polite and kind as a lot of (or a majority of it seems) Canadians are, but its the ignorant loudmouths who ruin it for the rest of the country. Great job Vancouver on a great Olympics. Great job Canada on a great country.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:43 PM  

  • Don't pay too much attention to this creep. He's the kind of guy who soils his pants on the subway just so people will notice him. He goes after people who like Democracy and also is obsessed with homosexuals simply because he will get a response from other atavistic imbeciles and attacking countries less warlike than he'd like the US to be, reveals him as an oily little coward trying to act out some pathetic ritual of what he thinks is masculinity. He'll always fail and he'll always blame it on someone else.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 3:51 PM  

  • lmao 51st state? are you seriously that dumb canada will never be a part of the usa and i mean never, the usa has tryed too invade canada 5 times are farmers and average people beat the american army back 5 times, then canada sent sent 10,000 solgers marching straight up into washington and burnt the whitehouse too the ground, i call that a feat of strength, then the usa singned a tredy stating they would never attac canada again, america did however try too BUY canada, they offerd all canadien citizens one million dollars each, and you know what we did we said you can stick your money up your ass CANADA IS NOT FOR SALE BITCH.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:31 AM  

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