On my way!

February 8, 2010

I’m sitting here on a Sunday night after having watched the Super Bowl with some girlfriends (go Saints!), and I’m pa-nick-ing. I’m two days away from leaving for what I think will be one of the best experiences of my life and I don’t feel ready in the slightest. I have not even started packing and with two full days ahead of me, I don’t know when I will have the time.

On Wednesday morning I’ll be flying to Vancouver for three weeks to volunteer at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

I have been a huge fan of the Olympics since I was a kid. I remember Jean-Luc Brassard winning the gold medal in the debut of freestyle skiing in Lilihammer, Norway in 1994. Elvis Stojko took the silver that year and managed the same feat four years later in Nagano, Japan. I remember the feeling of disappointment when Canada lost out on a chance to compete for the gold when they lost to the Czechs in a shootout in the semi-finals. It was the first year NHL athletes were eligible to compete, so expectations were high. Someone who exceeded expectation that year was speed skater Catriona Lemay Doan. She took home gold and bronze medals and was honoured with being the flag bearer at the Closing Ceremonies. I thought it was pretty cool that a female athlete was given that honour.

The 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, Utah were probably the most memorable for me. I remember the overwhelming feeling of pride when both our women’s and men’s hockey teams won gold. My sisters, my brother and I drove down to Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls and waved our flags and honked along with hundreds of other proud Canadians.

One moment of those Games is permanently seared into my mind:  the look of shock on the faces of Jamie Salé and David Pelletier when they saw their score after their flawless routine in the pairs figure skating competition. They had placed second. The judges awarded the Russian team  (who had a couple of very obvious wobbles in their routine) the coveted gold medal. I’m pretty sure every Canadian watching was on their feet yelling at their televisions. A judging scandal involving bribery and a Russian mob boss would soon be revealed. Jamie and David were soon-after awarded the gold medals that they had clearly earned.

The Turin Games in 2006 saw Canada win 24 medals and reach the goal of having a top three finish in the medal count. Only Germany and the United States won more medals than we did. I think we should take this as an extremely good sign as we aim for first overall this year. Very soon we’ll get to see if the Own the Podium program has any legs. And although some of my friends aren’t convinced, I’m extremely hopeful.

No need to worry, future posts will not be as long as this one – mostly because I just won’t have the time. I did want to share some of my Olympic memories though before I go make thousands more.

Go Canada Go!

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