When the cauldron was lit, Vancouver came alive! Flickr photo: HereInVancouver
On July 2, 2003, I sat at GM Place and waited amid the nervous energy for the big announcement. As Jacques Rogge walked to the podium the entire stadium tensed, and as Vancouver was named we erupted in raw emotion—we were chosen to do something special. I left feeling invigorated and optimistic. It didn’t last long. For the last seven years we’ve listened to those who wanted to turn back the clock and say no to the Games. And we’ve endured an embarrassing referendum on support that was held well after we’d won our bid to host. As an Olympic supporter I’ve felt at times like I was hearing my own echo.
But on February 12th, I watched the crowd gather thousands deep on Georgia Street to watch the Olympic flame pass, and I knew that the silent majority was about to speak. Even after the awful tragedy, the dysfunctional torch, and the criminals who vandalized our streets, Vancouverites, British Columbians, and Canadians were not going to fade away quietly and let others define our Games for us.
Instead we have used this opportunity to its fullest—to support our athletes, showcase our city and province, and host the world’s best party. By the time the sun was shining last Monday there was no mistaking the mood on the streets—jubilation, pride, and generosity of spirit.
We can debate endlessly on ways to spend public money and never find full agreement. And yes, sometimes I think the logo police go too far. So why do we support the Olympics?
Because the Olympics are about human stories: The courage of athletes like Joannie Rochette, who even at their lowest can rise above and inspire. Or the volunteers who give up countless hours to ensure that our visitors feel supported and cared for.
The Olympics bring the world together so we can recognize our similarities while we celebrate our differences. And above all, they help us remember that Canadians may come from different places, but we’re all united by the red and white and what this country means to us.
Something special happened here. Over the last two weeks I’ve witnessed my country come together in a way I’ve never experienced. I’ve swelled up more than once saying, I’m Canadian. And for the first time in the ten years I’ve lived in this city, Vancouverites weren’t worried about being cool—they just wanted to have fun.
- Post by Kerri