It’s kind of un-Canadian to be so proud to be Canadian, but I can’t help it. After keeping my distance from these Olympic Games in the months and years leading toward them, I finally got sucked in, fondled, and pleasured in a way that has left me breathless and happy.
It’s not the medal count that has me bulging with pride. Although it is impressive, I take the claims of record-setting golds with a grain of salt, given that there were a half-dozen more events in these winter games than there were even 8 years ago in Salt Lake City. Still, while Canada didn’t own the podium, we broke out of our home-field slump with a vengeance, and we are rightfully elated.
But it’s more than that. It’s Neil Young singing the flame out; it’s Michael Fox making a rare return to the spotlight on behalf of his country, and Betty Fox, a celebrity by virtue of her mothering a boy to Canadian and global heroism, carrying the Olympic flag.
It’s Joannie Rochette, never really a medal hopeful, digging deep into her grief and her love to have the skate of her life. It’s the fact that Canada would have been proud and honoured for her to finish top ten, but that she came away with a medal, and more remarkably, came away with the respect and love of people around the world.
It’s John Furlong taking a moment to mark the death, and honour the legacy of Nodar Kumaritashvili, and the crowd rising to its feet to acknowledge the loss of a brother, a friend, that none of us even knew three weeks ago.
It’s Jasey Jay Anderson, finally winning gold after so many years of high hopes and near misses, and the tiny ponchoed bundle in the stands holding a “Go Daddy Gold” sign. It’s Jasey Jay being too exhausted, and later too humble, to celebrate his win the way most of us would expect.
It’s Clara Hughes, whose smile shines as brightly as her 6 Olympic medals, but whose real pride comes from being chosen to carry our flag, and from sharing her amazing good fortune with a village in Africa, far from the podia and the cameras and the paraphernalia of sport.
It’s hockey. Of course it’s hockey. Hockey gold, hockey bragging rights for another 4 years, until the apprehension and excitement set back in as we line up to defend this championship, the one that transcends NHL team loyalties and unites the country in a single, roaring cheer when that game-winning goal is scored. It’s knowing that winning Olympic gold in hockey connects us so that together we can overcome any social, political or economic crisis facing our country.
It’s Vancouver. Oh, Vancouver, I love you. You are the older boy on whom I have a secret crush: I’ll never have you, but I’ll always want you. You are beautiful and rugged and stylish and natural and sexy. You have majestic mountains and gleaming skyscrapers. You have Stanley Park and the mighty Fraser, and Squamish & Whistler breathing softly into your neck. You make us proud, Vancouver; you make us envy you, Whistler; you make me miss you, BC.
My name is Kootnygirl, and I.AM.CANADIAN.