The Way I See It: Waving the maple leaf

Michele Blais cheers for the Canadian Olympians competing and triumphing at the 2014 Winter Olympics

Go, Canada, Go! What an impressive Olympic team we have and how proud we are of the athletes, their coaches and supporters who have represented Canada. There has been a great rush of national pride.

To be able to turn a dream into a reality is fantastic. The amount of work, time, effort and funds that have gone into developing an athlete into an Olympian is phenomenal to me. I hope that all members of our national team know how proud their fellow citizens are of them.

I, like millions of others, watch in awe as these amazing athletes participate in their events. My jaw dropped numerous times in watching the slopestyle events. I am coming from a place where Far Out is my favourite run on Silver Star so the thought of being able to do what Justin Dorey or Kevin Hill do on skis and snowboards is beyond comprehension. Not only to me, but to all those skiers and snowboarders who are freestylers, racers, they too salute their talents.

The skills that our Olympians have developed in this journey are going to serve them well their whole life. Imagine having the discipline, the focus, the drive to take yourself to this level of competition and then transfer this experience into future adventures. Amazing what lies ahead.

The skiing/snowboarding  was one of my favourites to watch because of the extreme challenges that the athletes took on. To reach the heights they did, to do those tricks, the jumps was incredible. My own sons loved to ski and have so much admiration for these athletes and know how difficult it is to do what they do.

But it wasn’t only their participation, it was the camaraderie amongst the competitors that I loved to see. It was the athletes hugging each other after their runs, high fiving, and looking like they were genuinely enjoying themselves.

So many moments made me so proud to be Canadian. The women’s hockey team always is a favourite and to see pure determination in action is captivating. The gold medal game snuck into my meetings — blah blah blah — Canada scored. Canada won! Cheers of delight and pride. We are a country that loves our hockey and the men’s and women’s games take people to new levels of enthusiasm and national pride.

“I feel like we achieved this moment for so many people in our lives, all of our friends, our families, and Canada. That is priceless,”  said Jennifer Jones after the women’s curling team won gold. Their achievement of no losses is an Olympic record. All the medal wins, all the placing, all the events it is all so beautiful! The red and white everywhere.

There were so many moments of pride in watching our athletes compete. Personally, I watch the winter Olympics more than I do the summer games as I find these events  captivating because it seems impossible to perform as they can. I shed many tears of joy, and of pride.

When Gilmore gave up his spot on the ski team because Morrison had a better chance of a medal, that was admirable. When the Canadian coach (American) ran down the hill to give the skier a new ski so he could finish with dignity, that was great. There were so many examples of team work and of sportsmanship. The athletes’ presence and grace in their media comments after events made me very proud.

The background on the athletes, the hometown features, the stories of the moms of the athletes have been really enjoyable. This is another great example of how we all need support, and the “it takes a village” attitude is played out. Getting to the Olympics is not an individual task; it takes the support and work of many to get on the national team. The individual athletes will have their personal goals for what they want to achieve and a whole country stands behind them in support and admiration, and that is there whether they stand on the podium or not.

So for me, a big fan, I say thank you to all the athletes, their parents, their coaches, friends, support systems, sponsors. Lucky us to be Canadian!

Michele Blais has worked with families and children in the Vernon area for the past 27 years. She is a longtime columnist with The Morning Star who writes on a variety of topics, appearing every other Sunday.