Feeling that warm Canadian glow

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Our love for our country runs deep.  We, as a nation, bleed red and white and this morning I felt the vibration of a country celebrating in unity as the Canadian Men’s Hockey team took Olympic Gold.  The West coast rose at 3:30 am (or stayed up) to watch the puck drop at 4:00 am PST and the wave of Canadian spirit undulated across the nation.

During these winter games we battled and we fell.  We picked ourselves up and congratulated those who bested us.  We honored those who carved the way for new Olympic challenges.  We watched the families and friends of our Olympians cheer on our Canadian athletes in Sochi while we cheered from home.

We did not just celebrate our victories.  We celebrated our efforts in every sport and paid tribute to those willing to represent the best our country has to offer.  We felt the pain of those who came up short of their goals but we also felt their Canadian pride in their attempt to be the best.

We battled with the world, we won with pride and we lost with dignity and grace.  We leave Sochi with the same sense of self and the same Canadian values we had when we arrived.

An entire country will go to bed tonight proud of our Canadian athletes, their coaches and their support staff.  We will appreciate the thankless hours parents spend teaching these children to learn from defeat, to lose and to win graciously and keep striving to be the best they can be.

(image credit: karenfron.com)

The memories that will linger from Sochi 2014

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2014-sochi-logo

(image credit: sochi2014.com)

I have been watching the Olympics intermittently.  During the time that I have been able to stop and watch, there have been some proud Canadian moments that will live on in our history because they have been documented.  Athletes have been awarded medals that will be displayed for generations and their names have been chiseled into the stone tablets of time.  Those victories have been celebrated and are cemented into the foundation for our future Olympians.

Dara Howell, a young girl from a small town so close to mine, proudly claimed her Gold medal and made the boundaries of Cottage Country swell with pride.   Sisters Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe topped the podium and took home Gold and Silver medals together.  Alexandre Bilodeau won Gold and, once again, shared a tender moment with his brother Frederic who has Cerebral Palsy and is, undoubtedly, Alexandre’s biggest supporter.   These are the precious Canadian moments that make us proud of our fellow countrymen and make us bleed white and red in their honor.  Support and pride can be felt across the country for ALL of our Canadian athletes.

But there have been moments that may never be recorded in the hallowed halls of Olympics gone by – moments that not only made me proud to be a Canadian, but proud to be a human being.  Newscasters delighted in showing the film footage of our Canadian ski coach, Justin Wadsworth, unselfishly replacing the broken ski of Russian skier, Anton Gafarovski, so he could “finish the race with dignity”.  Justin showed the world the heart of a former Olympian, the heart of a Canuck and the heart of the true human spirit.

Gilmore Junio has been plastered all over the coverage of Men’s Speed Skating because he gave up his spot in the 1000M race to allow his teammate, Denny Morrison, to compete after Denny fell in the qualifying round and was not entitled to race.  Denny went on to skate the track of his life after being cheered on by his family, Gilmore’s family and the rest of Canada, and he earned a Silver medal.  Gilmore may not have won a medal for the 1000M race but he won much more than that.  He won the heart of every Canadian and many other hearts from around the globe.  In true Canadian fashion, Denny Morrison is now campaigning to have Gilmore carry the Canadian flag at the closing ceremonies.

I can only hope when I think back on the Winter Olympics in Sochi that I will remember these moments and not just the jubilant faces on the podium as the winners received their medals.  The Olympic games are about being the best you can be and, in my opinion, Justin and Gilmore both won the Gold in that category!