Friday, 7 February 2014

The XXII Olympic winter games officially begin today in Sochi and I'm stressed out. To even think of coming close to what we achieved last time in Vancouver, when our athletes won an unprecedented 26 medals including the most golds (14) won by any country in the world, is daunting. How can they top that?

Thankfully, I’m not competing.   Our actual athletes are trained to deal with that kind of pressure.  So take our previous winter games medal count and add that in 2010 the city of Vancouver put on such a stunning show of what the games are supposed to be – PDAs strongly encouraged! – and our flag will wave higher and our athletes will walk taller as they enter Fisht Stadium for today’s opening ceremony.

The lead up to these games has been marked with news reports of terrorist threats, the biggest budget in Olympic history and unfinished construction of infrastructure and hotels.  (And to think a year ago I was considering booking tickets to join in the “fun”.  I will be happy to be watching from my sofa, even if the time difference means it will be at some ungodly hour.  What ever will I serve my guests??)

But never mind that.  The stars are aligned for us to lead again.  We have excellent uniforms (yes, that really matters) and the biggest winter Olympic team in Canadian history chalk full of athletes at the top of their game. (I’ve got big medal dreams for superstar skaters Tessa & Scott as well as our female ski jumpers.  You go girls.)

And after all, We Are Winter. Just ask anyone living in Ontario right now.


Image credit: Hudson’s Bay Company

My fingers are crossed the games go off without a hitch for everyone involved, but especially for our Canadian athletes.  To each of you I say, fight the good fight, no more unsportsmanly tweeting, be dignified and may the ice and snow conditions be on your side.

But most of all, enjoy this time in your lives.  Because before you know it you’ll be middle aged, your knees will be long gone and you’ll have forgotten what’s it’s like to have no fear.

By the numbers:

  • Number of athletes on the Canadian winter Olympic team:  221
  • Amount the federal government has spent on high performance sport since 2010:  $150M
  • Number of times Canada has won gold in ice hockey: 11
  • Number of times Russia has hosted other Olympic games:  0
  • Anticipated Sochi budget in US dollars:  $51 billion
  • Price per event: $520 million
  • Distance in kilometres the Olympic torch traveled on its way to Sochi: 65,000

Let the games begin!




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