I’m generally an Olympic nut. No matter where the Games are, it becomes my dominant obsession for the 14 days our athletes compete against the best in the world. I never remember being free of the Olympic obsession; maybe it was those Chiquita banana ads for the 1980 Olympics all over my favourite Richie Rich and Archie comics when I was a kid that started it. Regardless, the Olympics are the centre of my world for a few weeks every other year – and most especially those years we have the Winter Olympics, a generally more exciting and interesting event than the Summer. Yes, it’s partially because Canada does better in the Winter; but it’s in no small part because the endless repetition of the Summer – with scores of swimming and foot races of every conceivable variation and an endless parade of creepy gymnasts – gets me down. The Winter Olympics always seem tighter and more focussed.
Well, I wasn’t ready for the Olympics in my own city. Since the torch came through my hometown, and was passed and a new torch kindled within a few metres of where I’m currently writing this, the enormity of having the Olympics in the city I’ve spent all but a few of my 35 years in has hit home. The entire world is watching places I’m intimately familiar with. World-class athletes are treading along bits of pavement I’ve walked in the past year. This is… well, there’s no other way to say it. It’s fucking awesome.
I was devastated on Saturday when Jenn Heil’s first-rate run proved second-best; I’m very proud of her and think she skied brilliantly, I’m just sad there was someone out there better. Then today I had the joy of an unexpected medal in the 3000m women’s long track skate, and the utter elation of seeing a gold medal won by a Canadian for the first time on home soil.
I’ll try to make some updates over the next couple weeks, but surprisingly, even my obsession with Lost is taking a back seat to the excitement that is the Olympic Games in your home town. I’m looking forward to exploring some of the downtown venues soon, and most excited about the curling games I have tickets to this week, and I hope to write about them.
But if I’m just too busy goggling at the spectacle in my home town and I have nothing else to say in the next couple weeks, let me make sure I say this at least once – GO CANADA!