Some Post-Olympics Thoughts…Because You’re Not Sick of Hearing About it Yet

I’m a little ashamed to admit I’ve never really cared about the Olympics before. I never understood the hype or the significance of the event.

But this year with the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, I did a complete 360 (190? I was never good with math. I think that one puts me in a corner). I have no idea what factors exactly caused me to attach myself to the television permanently, but I figure it’s a combination of being more connected with the travel world, writing for Matador Sports, and having Canada be the host country. The world feels a lot closer these days.

Considering I’m Canadian, it’s hard to be unbiased and I’m unsure how this year’s games compare to previous games. But there’s just something about the way Canada handled these games that set my soul on fire.

I’ve never seen anything like it. The raw, pure, absolutely overwhelming displays of patriotism and happiness. The red sweaters, the maple leaf paraphernalia, even the giant flying moose in the closing ceremony (god help the person who took the ceremony seriously).

And with the gold medal count steadily increasing within the past week, the fervour just exploded. It’s all anyone talked about. It’s like the entire country had been suppressing their national pride for decades, and then just decided to erupt all at once. I would have given up my firstborn to be in the middle of it all; I found it painful watching from the other side of the country.

There was the hockey. Some people think it’s all we care about, but come on, we have a right to care. It’s the same way America cares about football and Italy cares about soccer. So the women’s team took the gold and then there was the final USA vs Canada gold medal hockey game on Sunday night.

You could literally cut the tension in the air with a knife. Even watching the excitement build on Twitter was excruciating. I decided to head over to a coworker’s house to watch the event, rather than avoid the whole thing like I had previously intended. I figured I couldn’t miss out on history.

When Crosby scored the winning goal, it was like the entire country let out its breath in one collective roar. I was gobsmacked. People poured out into the streets, waving flags, screaming, partying. No doubt we’ll remember the event forever, it was exactly what Canada needed…a record-breaking number of gold medals and total domination of hockey.

Newfoundland and Labrador was strangely quiet. I walked home to find people talking about it from their cars, or kids playing street hockey. But George Street was vacant to the point of eeriness. All I could do was sit at home alone, watching everyone else soaking up the greatest display of Canadian patriotism in history and be envious.

The beer line-up at CTVs Newfoundland Day Olympic celebration. Seriously.

The beer line-up at CTV’s Newfoundland Day Olympic celebration. Seriously.

I’m so proud to be Canadian, to have witnessed Canadians express our uniqueness and our strength to the world with these games. And goddamn, everyone outside of Canada was amazing, so gracious and thankful. I only noticed one sore loser on Twitter after the hockey game, I figure in a sea of 700 Twitterers, that’s pretty good. I mean, how could you not feel at least a little happy for the sheer bliss on all the Canucks’ faces?

Ain’t I a sap? Thanks JoAnna, for encouraging me with your own thoughts and ideas! I am so happy to have been a part of this experience, even from the outside.

  • March 02 2010

    My thoughts exactly! I was never a huge Olympics fan myself, although my Mom is. I think for me the change happened when I was in Vancouver for Opening weekend. There were so many people, parties and just plain ol’ Canadian pride. It was electric and contagious. After that I was peeled to the games. If I was working I would check scores on I’m still crushed about working during the Gold Medal hockey game on Sunday!

    • March 04 2010

      So jealous you were there!! Seriously. I feel like I’ll never have that opportunity again.

  • March 03 2010

    I’ve always loved the Olympics, but this year I loved them for different reasons – it certainly does add a little something when your home is the hosting country :) Especially when it comes to the opening & closing ceremonies.
    And seeing SO MUCH Canadian pride on every broadcast…. it does a soul good to see the country just come out and celebrate, in our own special way, how awesome we really can be :)

    Glad you decided to not ignore the hockey game! It was a not to be missed event for sure :) While the lack of celebratory craziness on George St was a bit sad, it was still a fairly epic night! (I mean, you didn’t even TRY the nachos! insanity! ;) )

    • March 04 2010

      I forgot to mention that part, GEEEEZ! Couldn’t even look at them, I had no appetite. You know the world is upside down when that happens.

  • March 03 2010

    I’ve always been a huge Olympics fan. It’s the only time of year I care about sports like hockey or any sort of ice skating and it has everything to do with it being country against country (same reason I only watch soccer during the World Cup). I got to witness one of the great things about sports too here in SK. Kim Yu Na amazed the world but she brought the people here together like I have never seen. It was nice to see how unified they were for her. That gets lost a lot in the US where they are expected to win in almost every event.

    • March 04 2010

      That’s so cool, I love that! Love seeing the unity rather than rivalry among everybody. It was special.

  • March 03 2010

    Does this mean you can subscribe to my blog now? I hope so because I still haven’t figured it out.

    • March 04 2010

      No! :( I’ve just been dropping in randomly.

  • March 03 2010

    Canada did such a phenomenal job hosting the Olympics. I know a lot of people who went up for the day or for a couple events (I used to go to school in Washington state – just a hop over the border), and everyone sang praises about how welcoming and kind the entire city of Vancouver was.

    I think that a lot of times the Olympic games are held in places where the citizens are just part of the city backdrop, but I really felt like Canadians rallied behind the games. They were proud to be hosting, and you all should feel proud about your success. Even I was rooting for Canada during the final hockey game!

    • March 04 2010

      That’s so great JoAnna, glad you enjoyed the whole thing! It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement eh? I’ve heard a lot of great things about Vancouver too, I think I have to make a point of going there.

  • March 03 2010

    I know what you mean! I dragged my little sister to the nearest pub where we devoured nachos, wings, and beers. After a handful of each, we were best friends with the entire bar. It was one of the coolest games to watch live. Laughing at the hoots for Michael J Fox, and the boos for Harper. The whole bar erupted into the national anthem three times during the game, and one monumental final one when the game was finishedh. Then the bars poored out onto Spring Garden to party. A good portion of the road was closed off just for Sid the Kid cheers.

    I heart you Olympics, and miss you already.

    • March 04 2010

      I saw a video of the madness at Spring Garden Road! WTF! How did this not happen on George Street?! I should’ve been there.

  • March 03 2010

    Haha I think you mean a 180.

    I wasn’t super into the Olympics this year but it was neat watching all the Canadians get so into it. Glad you all got your moment in the sun :)

    • March 04 2010

      Yes! I knew that…

      Thanks Steph! I’m interested to know how I’ll feel about the summer ones. It’s going to be quite different.

  • March 03 2010

    Ah, dammit, Canada beat us at something.

    I’d feel worse if I even knew how to play hockey. I was raised in a subtropical climate near the beach, and as such, I only know how to sun-tan and play beach volleyball.

    It sucks. Really.

    • March 04 2010

      Ugh, poor guy! Never knowing snow or icy rain and shovelling and people trying to drive you into banks of snow. Shitty deal.

  • March 03 2010

    I prefer the summer olympics.

    • March 04 2010

      I’m interested to see what these will be like for me…since I never paid attention before. Woo!

  • March 04 2010

    Here, the Austrians were pretty pumped up whenever one of theirs picked up a medal, and they got a fair number. But, I never feel any connection with American athletes. Maybe there is just too many of them for me. Plus, always being up there in the medal count kind of kills the excitement when yet another medal is won by an American…

    Glad you got to share some of the excitement, though!

    • March 04 2010

      Pretty big deal for the Canadians considering we had never won a gold medal in our home country before! Which makes me question how sucky the previous games were…

  • March 04 2010

    Go Canuks! (am I spelling that right? lol)

    Even as an American, I got more into these games than I ever have before. The Canadian festivities were adorable and I had a major fascination with athletes like Shaun White and Lindsey Vonn.

    Major kudos for the hockey win. You guys deserved it. :)

    • March 04 2010

      Shaun White is hawwwt! I really liked that dude, seriously. He was amazing.

      Thanks Nancy!

  • March 04 2010

    Thought I should let you know – I was here, and have covered atleast the unread items from your blog :)

  • March 05 2010

    ohh man, I miss the olympics. i too was glued to the television. for some reason, i could not stop watching curling. i had no idea what was happening, but it was great.
    and yeah, I never felt so proud to be Canadian either. it was just so freaking awesome.

    • March 08 2010

      Agreed! Such a cool moment, even got caught up in the curling myself, hahaha.

  • March 06 2010

    I flipped flop about this one. When Vancouver won the games back in 2004, I was ecstatic (as was most people I think)…then when costs start spiraling out of control and things like the East Van homeless/drug situation aren’t being adequately addressed, you think there is so much better use for the money. And you think, why does the world need to know about Vancouver? Let it be a “hidden jewel” (sorry bout that one) if that’s what it is. It’s small, it doesn’t need to be overrun with tourists.

    And then when the Games drew near and I started to experience firsthand the effects (jacked up prices in restaurants, extortionate prices for accommodation, etc) it made me even madder.

    But I am very glad that I got to experience it here. And it certainly helped that Canada was so successful. Bloody hell, that game was good.

    • March 08 2010

      I know what you mean Carlo, and I suspect my feelings about everything would be different if I were from Vancouver like you, but I decided to put aside any political feelings for this post at least. That game was freaking amazing!

  • March 08 2010

    LOL, I’m not good at math either but you did a 180. You are a funny, funny girl.

  • May 14 2010

    Haha, I suppose when you come full circle??? It really is amazing the kind of patriotism the Olympics can bring out in you. I feel it’s the same way when the local sports team is winning, although obviously in the Olympics it’s on a national scale. I’m a sports fan to begin with so maybe I don’t count, but I think the unifying aspect of sports is one of its greatest attributes.

    • May 16 2010

      Totally, and really the aspect I enjoy the most. Nothing like being in a bar filled with hockey fans when their favourite team wins. :)

  • January 31 2011

    I was living in Ukraine when the Olympics were on, and I got up at 2 or 3 in the morning to watch the Gold medal hockey game (women’s and men’s actually). I was living with some Americans and when we were watching they were like, “There’s too much hitting, the Canadians are too rough.” And I was like, “That’s hockey. It’s what we do best. If you don’t like it, don’t watch.” I was extremely proud when we won.

  • October 14 2018

    WOnderfull, ❤it! every time Olympics leave something special for me.

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