I stood in the warmth emanating off the flames and stared at their dancing shapes – their voices roaring in my ears. Tall and mighty it stood before me – the symbol of pride in my city.
It was magnificent and completely worth the half-an-hour bus trip down to see.
Wearing my red scarf, a red hairband and my red Olympic gloves I couldn’t have felt more patriotic and proud then at that moment. Canada had won back-to-back gold medals in men’s hockey at the Olympics.
It had been an early start with the game beginning at 4AM PT, but we had dragged ourselves out of bed, made tea, and plunked ourselves down on the couch to watch our men battle for the glory of gold, defending their title for Canada.
We kept our cheers quiet so we wouldn’t wake the landlords but our hearts were screaming as we pumped our fists at each goal. 1, 2, 3 and before you knew it, it was over. We had won gold – 3-0 against Sweden. Watching the ceremony you could see the happiness and excitement on each player’s face as they were presented their gold medals.
Though we were thousands of miles away, back in their home country, we were right there on the ice with them that morning, as was all of Canada. It’s amazing how the Olympics bring countries together, how we all stand behind our athletes and share the moments with each other, at times even hugging complete strangers out of happiness and excitement.
Hockey in particular, is a big one in Canada and we all rally behind our country. Throughout the NHL season we have rivalries with fellow Canadians. Some cheer for Vancouver, others for Montreal, some for Winnipeg or Edmonton while others cheer for Calgary or Ottawa. And then there’s Toronto too! As our teams face one another, we separate as countrymen to cheer for our specific team but at the Olympics we all stand together to cheer on for our country and that is what I love about the Olympics.
So here I stood, at the base of the Olympic Cauldron in Vancouver on Sunday, February 23rd, 2014 to see its amber flames light up the plaza, to hear the roar of the fire and see the symbol of pride in my city finally lit. And standing there I didn’t want the Olympics to end.
I will have to wait, but in four years I will stand at the base of this cauldron once again as the Winter Olympics begin.