I remember when the Olympics came to Calgary in 1988. I remember the mascots. I remember the red torch candles that we all bought and light when the torch came running by. I remember the glasses you would by at the gas station. I remember mom and dad talking to us about the different sports and competition. I remember learning about different countries, their traditions, their way of life, their hardships (thanks to CBC who covered the games at those times). I remember that while I cheered for Canada, I also loved seeing people just do their best. I remember elizabeth manley skating her best skate. I remember the idea that these athletes had trained hard, had worked hard, had given up much for work for this dream.
Since than I have grown up and I have come to see that there are many many conversations waiting to be had around the Olympics and I don't run away from these conversation; the idea of corporate sponsorship, the idea of access to the games for the public, not just the elite, the capital investment that could be going to other needed places of society, the countries that are waring, the role of women, pressure and expectation for gold. My heart at times is torn. I look for ways to make sure that I speak of these issues, these concerns. I make sure that while I celebrate that I don't pretend as if everything is nice and neat and tidy. I don't ever profess to have all the answers on how we can continue to have the games as they were meant to be now.
and even with those conversations still being had, today, I'm wearing red and white. Today, I will sit in front of a TV and I will watch as country after country walks into an areas with garb that represents to them the country they deem to be home. Today I will probably tear up a little, thinking of my Vancouver 2010 experience, thinking of the pride of a country coming together to celebrate. Today I will consider dreams and determination and hard work. Today I will get excited about the number of times I will get to hear O'Canada over the next days. Today, I won't shy away from those hard conversation that need to be had, but I will celebrate.
The Olympics for me is about community and coming together. It is about sportsmanship and good competition. It is about the celebration of setting goals and reaching those dreams. It is about celebrating people like Clara Hughes who is a role model and ambassador of compassion, honesty and determination for our country. It is about seeing countries together, for the love of sport and the passion of the game.
and yes, it is about getting to wear Canadian clothing as much as I want over the next days.....
GO CANADA GO.