So, uh, that happened.
Sorry for the delayed editorial response, but it’s basically taken me a week to recover from the off-key shit show that was the closing ceremonies. With that cleansed from my memory (a simple what now?) I find myself looking back fondly at what were, for me anyway, the greatest winter games ever. Highlights for me:
- Alex Bilodeau, naturally, winning the first Canadian gold medal on home soil
- Ashleigh Macivor, who seemed to win gold and take to the spotlight like it was predetermined
- The women’s hockey team, who steamrolled the field on their way to yet another gold medal. Bonus points for awesome celebrations and exposing the inherent sexism in expected athletic conduct
- Maelle Ricker, on whom I have a Blackcomb-sized crush
- Jasey-Jay Anderson, who we watched come from way behind in the final race to win gold, capping off a long, brilliant career
- Clara Hughes winning yet another medal, cementing her position as the greatest all-around athlete this country has ever fielded
- Multiple-medal wins by the speed skaters, but especially Charles Hamelin & Marianne St-Gelais. The video of St-Gelais watching her boyfriend finally win gold at these games was one of the purest, and most adorable, moments of excitement and joy I’ve ever seen.
- Joannie Rochette. Full stop. Honestly, I give less than half a shit about figure skating and don’t care if I never watch it again, but c’mon…to compete just days after your mother dies, and to do so (nearly) flawlessly, as a tribute to her, and to top it all off to win an Olympic medal? Unreal. She’s my new hero.
- And, of course, the cap-off memory from the games was the cap-off event: the men’s gold medal hockey game. We got to see a game that will go down as one of the all-time classics between Canada and their new chief rival, one that went to overtime to decide the gold medal after some last-second heroics by the US. And we got to see the new torchbearer of Canadian hockey score the golden goal. After that goal was scored Nellie and I ran out to the balcony, and we could hear the entire city erupt (just like Vancouver). We took to the streets to join the celebration, which wasn’t just about hockey. It was that oh-so-rare Canadian moment, an outpouring of patriotic pride…which typically just happen to be centered around hockey.
My one regret about these games was that we weren’t there in Vancouver to experience them. If I knew in 2003 what I know now I would have started buying tickets and booking flights immediately upon the games being awarded to Vancouver-Whistler. I’m not sure when Canada will ever have another games (Toronto seems to have used up its chances at landing the summer games and isn’t a viable venue for winter sports; Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver have all had their recent go. I suspect Quebec City is our only hope now.) and so I worry that I’ve missed my chance. But it’s become so commonplace to watch live events on TV that we sometimes forget how lucky we are to be able to witness such events in real time, along with two thirds of the country, and jump up and cheer and, in our case, run up the middle of the world’s longest street high-fiving strangers. That doesn’t happen every day.
Now, a week later, I miss that feeling terribly.
I hope I never stop.