March 1, 2010

Olympics, come and gone

Well, it’s all over. Years and years of planning, all leading up to the last 17 days which have just come and gone.

Monday, March 1st felt a bit like the hung-over morning after a one night stand. On the one hand, the city had a glow about it that won’t soon fade. On the other hand, it’s kinda like the world arrived, romanced us, then used up the city and ran out before the sun came up. I had to arrive early to work that morning; my final shift in the BC International Media Centre where I spent 24 of the 28 days in February.

The revellers from the Men's Gold medal hockey game had moved on by the time I got to work; even those that managed to parlay Canada’s Storybook overtime goal celebrations into post-closing ceremonies shenanigans had at least found an alley way or door enclosure to pass out in at that point.

But the litter on the street on Monday will not be a lasting memory from the past month.

The images I will take with me are of a nation cheering in the streets and at Olympic venues, unabashed in its love for itself and pride for its athletes.
I will remember being up close to our athletes mere hours after their wins, as they would look down at the medal around their neck, the pride of victory on their face.

I will remember the hoots and hollers of tourists as they flew across Robson Square on a Zip Line ride that they waited six hours in line to get on, and all the families that came down to Robson Square to partake in all sorts of activities.

I will remember the national anthem, ringing out in the streets in impromtu chorus day after day.

I will remember trading pins with media from around the world, little old ladies I met on the street, colleagues, and excited kids.

I will remember a city that did not sleep for more than two weeks.
I will remember gathering with friends--hockey fans and non-hockey fans--to watch the big games.

I will remember cherry blossoms showing themselves to the world in the middle of a Canadian “winter”, where sunny skies and moonrises over the downtown core took place everynight for the better part of a week--no small feat in Rainy Vancouver.

I will remember feeling so fortunate to have been live and in the flesh when our athletes achieved their goals and had the best days of their lives.

and everyone will remember Joannie Rochette, who achieved one of the biggest goals of her life amidst some of the worst days of her life. And Kate can say she was there to see it happen.

I will remember politicians proudly donning our maple leaf rather than the usual suits; a nice change of pace if you ask me.

And Lastly,I take with me the sense that, as john Furlong noted in his speech at the closing ceremonies, perhaps now the world knows who we are as Canadians. I hope that vancouverites keep with them the lesson that it is in fact okay to say ‘hi’ to strangers on the street, as they have been dong for the last few weeks. It has been awfully nice for the city to lose any pretention it had before!

I hope that as the Paralympics comes through town in two weeks from now, we can show the world that we can do all of this not once, but twice, and that our spirit as Canadians will endure to the world even beyond that. GO CANADA!

oh, and n case you missed it, here's a whole bunch more photos in high speed ;)