“If you dream and you allow yourself to dream you can do anything.” — Clara Hughes, Canadian cyclist and speed skater.
Coming up to the start of the Olympics last week, there was plenty of discussion about who would bear the flag for Canada, medal predictions, injuries, and fair play. This week, the topics are hardly any different. Instead of it being about Hayley Wickenheiser carrying the flag in though, it’s about Gilmore Junio, the speed skater, potentially carrying the flag out. Junio, at the moment, is most famous for the race he didn’t skate as he selflessly chose to give his spot in the men’s 1,000m long track speed skating race to his teammate Denny Morrison who went on to win a silver medal.
Talk about medals will certainly continue until the last event finishes. I think my favourite is the surprises – the athletes who aren’t necessarily top of mind to reach the podium but end up doing just that, although I know as a nation we collectively hope for the very best. It was amazing to see Alexandre Bilodeau and Mikeal Kingsbury and Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe take the gold and silver respectively in men’s and women’s moguls. There’s been triumph with Mark McMorris winning bronze in snowboard slopestyle, which made its Olympic debut in Sochi, winning Canada’s first medal of the games with a broken rib. There have also been moments that as a nation we wish had turned out differently. The men’s short track relay team had high hopes of defending their gold medal from Vancouver which didn’t turn out as planned.
Canada’s Olympic story continues to unfold, one event at a time. There are a lot of events to hold your breath over still. Hockey – both men’s and women’s—means so much to Canada as a nation. That’s not to say that Canadians everywhere aren’t watching curling or any other sport with any less intensity. The Olympics brings out national pride (as well as the arm-chair athlete) in all of us.