In the year since the Olympics, not a day has gone by that I don’t miss it. I miss the 24/7 coverage on TV. I miss that “I Believe” song that was omnipresent last February. I miss having awesome nights at Heineken House. I miss the streets packed with people proudly wearing their country’s name. I miss hugging and high-fiving strangers. I’ve been in Vancouver for nearly 30 years and this was the most excited I’ve ever seen the city. I miss the celebrations. I miss that you could hear the entire city gasp and cheer in unison.
There are obviously those that don’t feel the same way about the Olympics as I and so many others do. Some hated the fact that the city blew all that money on a giant sporting event party and others that really didn’t care. I get asked all the time why I made such a big deal about the Olympics and why I make such a big deal about the Vancouver Canucks nearly all year round. Some people just don’t get it…the value of sport. Some people don’t understand how awesome it really was to have the Olympics here…to host the entire world for two weeks. It’s not just because the Olympic Games were mostly a success. I don’t know if I would’ve loved the Olympics the same way if we hadn’t won all those gold medals, capped by Sidney Crosby’s now legendary golden goal to seal it against the Americans. However, even if we didn’t win, I would’ve still looked back at that time with fond memories. It was the first time I had seen my city like that.
As Canadians, we’ve always had a bit of a self-depreciating sense of humor about ourselves. We know where we stand in terms of the world’s power. We know the way we pronounce, spell or do certain things might be a little comical to other countries but unlike most of them, we can take a joke. But don’t be fooled…we Canadians are a proud people. We know we’re awesome. We know this country we’re from is awesome. We don’t feel the need to pound our chest about it all the time but nonetheless, we love our home and we don’t forget where we came from. The Olympics presented us an opportunity to break out of our usual politeness and shake our national pride a bit. We cheered together. We had each other’s backs. We were united.
I don’t cry at weddings. I didn’t cry at the end of The Notebook but you’ll have to forgive me for tearing up a little any time someone brings up those glorious few weeks we experienced last year. The storylines couldn’t have been better if they were written. A no-fun city was transformed into the world’s party central. We were blessed with heroes that wore our country’s name.
Maybe the best part was that we were all such a big part of it. The Olympics probably wouldn’t have been such a success or something that we would talk about for a long, long time if the city didn’t embrace the games like it did. Yes, the actual games were a huge part of the legacy but all the people that I shared the experience with, all the people flooding the streets, the crowds were everyone felt like a friend…we made it special.
Will such an atmosphere ever come to Vancouver again? It’s hard to say. I’d venture to guess that only a Stanley Cup could contend with that level of celebration and even then, it wouldn’t be for weeks (…although I could be wrong.). Even if that happens, few of us would ever forget the truly wonderful time we shared in 2010.
There will be a few events celebrating the Olympics in the coming weeks including one today and another event on the 26th. On the 12th, there will be all sorts of Olympic reliving going on in downtown Vancouver. I’ll be there so if you spot me, say hi!