03 March 2014

Thoughts on Sochi 2014 Pt 1: Proud to be Canadian

I know the Olympics has come and gone for over a week now, but there are thoughts that are still resonating with me. Sochi 2014 has been surrounded with a lot of controversy and I get the impression that it's been difficult to say whether it's been a "successful" winter games or not. By the medal table, Canada has done well, coming in third where gold medals are concerned, and fourth where total medals are concerned.

Screen shot of http://www.sochi2014.com/en/medals

Everyone wants to be a winner, and when they're not, critics are the first to raise their voice over the crowd at how a country or a team didn't live up to expectations. I'm pretty sure whatever athlete that participated is already hard on themselves for not having performed as well as they might have hoped, or performed well and still not have placed. It's always easy to forget at what calibre the Olympics are at, so I was a little disappointed when I read an article critisizing Team Canada's outcome at Sochi 2014.

Screen shot of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Winter_Olympics_medal_table

Yes, Canada got 3 more gold medals at Vancouver 2010. Yes, Team Canada got 1 more total medal at Vancouver 2010. And yes, I think we are losing sight of what the Olympics represents. Like I said, everybody wants to be a winner (I'm no exception), but what about how great it is that the participating countries can still get together from around the world? What about all the other moments of sportsmanship, triumph, and national pride that leave us with lasting impressions of how great the Olympics are?

Very early on in the Games a BuzzFeed article came out, 10 Ways Canada Has Already Won the Olympics. My favourite moment was #4 when the article was published, when Canadian Coach Justin Wadsworth gave a spare ski to the Russian competitor. To me, nothing could epitomize sportsmanship more, and again, for the Olympics being a platform to allow people to overlook nationalistic rivalry.

From this side of the pond, whatever was broadcast concerning Team Canada was positive and it made me super proud to be a Canadian living in the UK, never mind wearing my Team Canada t-shirts from Olympics past. Even the BBC reported on my next favourite moment that surrounds the Dufour-Lapointe sisters. Two sisters took first and second in freestyle skiing and sadly the third sister ended up in 12th. You could really feel for the sister that didn't get to the podium but you could also really feel the family support: It's pretty special that a family can train, support, and compete against each other and still be family.

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Part One - Part Two

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