During March, I was constantly surrounded by Olympic news, it was unavoidable. All the victories, protests, stories, costs, events, and opinions revolved around a event that was happening on my doorstep. I was here, watching, as eyes all over the world focused on Vancouver and people got caught up in the Olympic hype.
I wasn’t entirely sure what my stance on the Olympics were, however as the time can nearer and nearer, I felt the excitement. It was after all, a once in a lifetime opportunity. Some of my classmates were even more skeptical though…
Julie questioned the Olympics the most. While she tried to appreciate the way the Olympics pushed aside political and cultural boundaries to bring the world together, she still felt there was something missing. Between the issues of cost, the terrible death of the Georgian Luger, the rejection of Woman’s ski jump… Were the games really worth all the hassle leading up to it and the lasting mess to deal with after? How were the Olympics going to change Vancouver?
It seems the 2010 Winter Olympics has brought about a big black cloud on the city of Vancouver, for many reasons, and the one time that I should be extra excited for the Olympic Games, I haven’t even bothered to take a trip downtown yet. To be frank, I’m scared. I’m scared to see what my beloved city has turned into.
Others, like Raiya, had a complete transformation during the Olympics. At first they were doubtful of the necessity of the games however when the time came, it was impossible to not get carried away with the incredible spirit that was thriving through Vancouver all day and all night.
So as you can see, I went from being a total Olympics hater to being totally Olympics-obsessed. And now I would do anything to get the Olympics back to Vancouver
Some people weren’t necessarily against the Olympics… They just had not yet been bitten by the “Olympic bug.” Ariana was one of these individuals, who after receiving a pair of red, Olympic mittens was more closely drawn to the idea of the games being hosted in Vancouver. I agree quite a bit with her conclusion that really, the festivities are only going to last so long- might as well take full advantage of them and enjoy yourself!
Two weeks ago, when I received my very own pair of red Vancouver 2010 mittens, was the first time it truly sunk in that the world would soon be coming to my backyard. I wore the mittens for the rest of the week and pondered what they meant. Hosting the Olympics entailed spending lots of taxpayer money, no Evergreen Line out to Port Moody, and whole lot of hassle. However, there’s also something exciting about being the hub of the world for two weeks and then the government keeps going on about tourist dollars. In the end, I couldn’t make up my mind about whether I supported having the Games in Vancouver or not. I decided to save my opinion for later and just enjoy the festivities.
The Olympics weren’t exactly what Clare remembered them being. It was the watching the exquisite Canadian Ice Dancers, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, that got her attention in time to enjoy Vancouver being in the spotlight.
For the last 4 years, Olympics have become a synonym for over-budgeting, anti-rights movement, and a bucket-load of other controversies. The whole uptake seemed like a coop to show the world a perfect Vancouver, by any means necessary and I was not impressed; this was not the Olympics I had enjoyed at age 7.
All of these people had their own view on the Vancouver Olympics, yet I couldn’t help but draw some parallels. The Olympics are addicting. Or rather… the Olympic Spirit is addicting. I, too, traveled to Vancouver several times to see what there was to see, and I will remember some amazing moments from the winter games this year. Alex Bilodeau being the first Canadian to win a gold medal on Canadian soil, Petra Majdic capturing the bronze medal in skiing even with a collapsed lung, seeing Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir steal the show with their ice dance (they also won the world championships recently)… And of course, the moment when Canada scored the final goal of the gold medal hockey game (which also meant that Canada set a new record for the highest number of gold medals earned during a Winter Olympics-14)! People flocked the streets, decked out in red and white clothing, flags tied around necks, faces painted, olympic wear, hats featuring the awesome Olympic mascots, and many, many cameras. Volunteers stood at every corner, directing people from all over the world around the city, concerts played every night, buskers entertained large crowds along the busy streets, and outburts of O’ Canada were not uncommon.
However all good things must come to an end and on February 28th, the winter games came to a dramatic close. Only two weeks later, the Paralympics began! Although these games did not get nearly as much coverage as the Olympic ones, I would be tempted to say they were more inspiring… I saw a match of sledge hockey one evening- there are athletes out there who play hockey sitting in sleds and only use the upper half of their body. That is amazing. I was also fortunate enough to be able to see Canada compete for the gold medal in Wheelchair Curling on the final day of competition. This was a great way to tie up the olympic spirit in me, one last burst of true patriotism. Taking my seat, I watched as the mass of red and white people grew inside the stadium… flags waved, cheers were started, and the wave was attempted several times. As the match drew to a close, and the final stone was cast (yay Jim Armstrong!) the crowds erupted into cheers, only seizing when “I gotta Feeling” came on over the speakers and everyone started dancing instead. What a moment that was 🙂
So in the end, whatever you thought about the Olympics, I sure hope you took some time to celebrate the amazing-ness of it all with the rest of the world. Personally, I have never been this proud to be Canadian- I thought we really came together as a nation and showed our true spirit. As for Vancouver… I am proud to call this my home.
Congratulations World, on a fabulous 2010 Winter Olympic Games!
(Author’s note: I am counting this for the Blogging Challenge #3, which means I am officially caught up! 4 posts in 3 days… Take that 🙂 )