farewell rings... but not good bye

what a games.
having been fortunate enough to attend these olympiad in beautiful BC i have to say, as i sit in the sparsely populated terminal (contrary to predictions of mayhem) about to board my chair in the sky back to the centre of the universe, my heart aches a little.

when the sun rose over vancouver this morning it brought with it eerie and lonely silence signifying the sad reality that the olympics are over.

what a games.
walking through the streets of van today, as the echoes of weeks of escalating cheering and honking fades in my ears, memories of the crowds of red plaid blanketing the city from the shores of the pacific across to the false creek inlet bring about some nostalgia for an energy that was impossible to contain not 24 hours ago.

there are few experiences that i have had in my life where i felt so connected to strangers and neighbours alike.

but what a games it was. canada you rocked the hizouse and we are so proud.

the medal count, the records broken, and personal bests aside, these games represented so much more than simply the importance of high performance sport, they let us show off our canada.
and to some it seems that this exhibit of national pride was not appreciated. this article boils my blood.(this one too)
of course it was about canada and why shouldn't it be?
the olympic games are a celebration of sport AND culture, awarded to world class cities in countries to showcase their athletes but more importantly to welcome the world into their identity. and that's exactly what we did.

we apologized as things went wrong (unnecessarily).
we stood behind our athletes as they won medals, broke records, expressed disappointment and exhibited excellence (especially in the face of adversity and criticism from the media - but that's a whole other story)
but most importantly we cheered.
and we cried.

we showed the world that we may be dispersed longitudinally but we are united when it comes to the important stuff.

since feb12th it has been impossible to find a seat at any bar in this city, walking two city blocks in any direction from granville and georgia was a joke, and you couldn't turn your head 90 degrees without seeing a roots or HBC toque.

the sun rose this morning and revealed the pavement now diffused of the crowds that once flowed over it. and as i walked through these seemingly vast corridors of the city, i was met with thousands of teal-clad VANOC volunteers with that vacant boxing day look on their faces. that disbelief that after all of that, it's over, and life goes back to normal.

it took 25 000 of these passionate volunteers, 2 600 world-class high-calibre athletes and the patience and hospitality of a city with a population of 600 000+ to pull this off.
so, to you 627 600 plus individuals, from lil ol me, i say thanks.
i will never forget it and i don't think anyone will.
so bye bye for now rings....you have given us memories to last a lifetime. let's do it again sometime.

a tip of the hat and a wag of the finger - the legacy the rings leave behind

as much as i would like to avoid tagging colbert to these games any more than he already is, i must adopt his TIP/WAG system for a moment as i offer a most genuine tip of my hat to our athletes who knocked VAN2010 outta the park and to our friends in countries around the world who were such gracious guests, embracing our culture, our silly songs, our love of plaid and beavers, and all the while cheered as loud as they could.

alternatively, i assign a stern and pointed wag of my finger at the eager media and the opportunistic and trigger happy sports funding critics who became deafeningly vocal with criticism of the OWN THE PODIUM program only a few short days into the games.
the glory of the first few medal wins overshadowed by this preemptive and unjustified smear campaign.

before they even hit the slopes or took to the ice, while our athletes struggled with the already immense pressures of performing on the world stage on home turf, they were forced to bear witness to this mushrooming multimedia debate questioning the ROI of the minor funding they currently receive and the validity of the programs assigned name. not to mention suggestion of prospective cuts to that funding based on predictions of meager and unimpressive results in the athletic endeavors that they had not yet embarked upon!!! for shame.

unfortunately, the preemptive apology for predictions of PODIUM OWNING seems typical of the cndn persona. that we would apologize (to whom?) for setting such high hopes before the results are in. wag. wag. wag.
well, i hope that it has taught us a lesson.

certain media personalities should be applauded for avoiding the discourse and opting out of conversation altogether; recognizing that the discussion was both unnecessary and disrespectful at that juncture.

after the most successful games of any host nation ever, where are the critics now? oh, applauding our athletic accomplishments and assigning credit to the financial support of the own the podium initiative? what a short memory you have.

i am the first to say that we need to be accountable to our taxpayers and ensure that money is being spent effectively and on results driven programs.
but if these games have taught us anything, it's that we have an incredibly talented roster of athletes on whom we should be spending more money for training and services and paying better attention. we should be fostering communities where sport and recreation are celebrated and encouraged all at levels fostering a breeding ground for capable and champion athletes.

so once again i say, bye bye les rings.... here's hoping you leave behind a legacy of renewed and active appreciation of athleticism and lessons in not speaking too soon.