Monday, March 1, 2010

Vancouver 2010

I have read numerous commentaries, editorials, and columns about the Olympics and what is clear is that these Olympics allowed Canadians to feel a sense of national pride and unity. Despite the lack of French at the Olympics, the mangled national anthem at the opening ceremonies, the rain and fog and lineups, there was something about these Olympics that prompted the average person to take pride in being Canadian. We sang the national anthem, we cheered as our athletes excelled, we agonized with them, we rejoiced with them. We were united as a country for those 17 days when it seemed that time was suspended.

This sense of unity and pride is, I think especially important at a time when the country is not united, when we have become disillusioned by a government that we see as detached, distant or dictatorial. The pride and unity is also important in a country that often defines itself as French, English, East or West, North or South. Who among us did not cheer when Sidney Crosby scored the golden goal? Who among us were not thrilled when Alexandre Bilodeau thanked his brother Patrick and claimed he was his inspiration. Despite all the commercialization, the endorsement by Coca Cola, the hype, the music, the endless commentaries, there is something about the Olympics that transcends it all.

I have a friend who said the Olympics should be like the ancient Olympics. The ancient Olympians competed in the nude, something that would be impossible in winter and moreover no married women were allowed to watch, let alone participate. No, the modern Olympics are much more accessible.

I found myself enjoying women's hockey immensely. Although I was thrilled with the fact that the men's hockey team won gold, they were all drawn from different professional teams and thus Team Canada vs Team Russia, was no more than the same players with a different lineup or shuffling of the deck. The women's team was real. They held their small children in their arms, they are mothers, they have jobs, they embody the spirit of the amateur athlete and for their struggles and victory we all salute them.

Vive le Canada, Vive les jeux Olympique!

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