Olympic Spirit

 Canadian Flag. Jennifer Ward

Canadian Flag. Jennifer Ward

Normally, I do not like watching sports in any capacity; even a sport that I play. Sure watching a game in person is always much more exciting, but I am normally the person in the crowd that is talking and misses the gold medal winning goal.

For instance, when Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal for Canada at the 2010 Olympics, I was talking to my friend and I missed seeing the goal happen. I only know it happened because everyone was screaming and cheering in my friend's living room.

You wouldn't know it from the outset, but I am very patriotic. I will not sing any other national anthem but "O Canada" as I believe it is sacrilegious. So for some reason when the Olympics are on, I am engaged. Maybe it's Canadian pride; I am not sure. All I know is that I will watch whatever sport is being profiled. I also check social media frequently to see what happened overnight. I love the human spirit and hearing how awesome Canada is because we have team spirit and even better than that we believe in what is best for humanity.

Before the games started, Canada was at the forefront of human rights for LGBTQ persons. We became upset over corporations not taking a stand for the rights of all human beings. In Sochi, our Olympians turned activists showing their pride and honour for Olympians such as Sarah Burke that have died in sport. Furthermore, we are empathetic for our four legged friends in Sochi that are being euthanized. We have also seen Canadian Olympian, Gilmore Junio, give up his spot on the team so that one of his teammates, Denny Morrison, can compete instead. Now there is a social media movement to have Junio be the flag bearer for the closing ceremonies. 

Canada we are cool! I am so prideful during the Olympics that it fills my whole being. Somehow, the minutia of life affects me less and I am happier. I feel the elation of every medal win and the sorrow of the losses. Honestly, I do not care if an athlete medals or notl as I know they have worked so hard just to represent our fine country.

In 2002 when Salt Lake City, Utah hosted the Winter Olympics I felt like most Canadians, excited about hockey. I felt an immense amount of pride for our women and men’s hockey teams. Actually, I was a little happier for the women because as women we cannot play professional hockey and make money doing what we love. *When the loonie was placed under the ice, in some way, we owned the ice for these games.

My longstanding memory of the 2002 Winter Olympics women’s gold medal hockey game is skiing. Yes, skiing. I opted to wake up early this day and go skiing in the beautiful mountains surrounding Vancouver, British Columbia. As my car winds up the mountain to the base of the ski hill, I am reminded of the buzz of the Olympics as it hums on the radio. As I approach the parking lot to unload my skis, I see hordes of skiers lined-up waiting for the chairlift to warm up to carry the kamikazes to their destinations. I quickly get my day pass in order and clipped to my jacket. My goggles are donned and the click of my boots into my skis indicates that it is time to fly. Chugging up the chair lift, I can hear the radio from the lift operator’s room—Olympic coverage.

Toward the mid afternoon, the sun is blazing and the temperature on the mountain is above zero. It is really heavenly. There is almost no need for a winter coat. Since the snow is a little softer, I decide that I’ll try the moguls. Once, twice, three times, and my knees are still intact. I look around and there is not a soul on the mountain. What luck! I have the mountain to myself, but it is eerie. I approach the chair lift and only the operator is there. I ask him what’s going on and he tells me that everyone is in the chalet watching the women’s gold medal game. I can hear the game’s moderation on the radio as I approach the top of the run. I take the shorter run so I can make my way to the chalet to catch some of the game. As I come down the hill, a wave of emotion encapsulates me as the whole chalet is screaming. The women won! The women won!

So there I missed it. I always miss these epic moments in history. I guess I can say that I know where I was when these wins happened. This year, though, I plan to be home or at least paying attention when the Canadian women and men’s hockey teams take gold again.

~Jennifer Ward

RantingnRaven on twitter

* after publishing this post, a lovely reader informed me that it was Trent Evans that placed the loonie under the ice. ~Thank you.