SASKATOONEXPRESS - March 3-9, 2014 - Page 13
Olympics made me proud to be a Canadian
the world? Their wholesome, t’s so nice being Canahealthy look and family-team dian! attitude made them irresistDuring February I spent ible. a lot of time watching the Or when Alex Bilodeau Winter Olympic Games. Yes, skied down the slopes and the time-zone changes threw over the golden finish line? me off a bit, but I got into Everyone was in tears as he a rhythm of waking early, skied straight to his brother, a putting coffee on auto-perk, disabled young man who has nestling in my warm bed, been the inspiration to Alex and watching the famous for years. athletes enduring the pain Columnist When freestyle snowand pursuit of success. boarders made their way to I love the buildup, the stories, the perseverance and the glory. the podium, you knew they were thinking of Sarah Burke, a Canadian competAt times I’ve wondered if I liked to watch them because the world seems to itor who lost her life in a snowboarding give you permission to slack off a little crash not long ago. There was the moment when Caor change schedules, just so you can sit back on the couch and watch Canadians nadian cross-country ski coach Justin Wadsworth helped a Russian skier, perform. Anton Gafarov, who was struggling to The Winter Olympics are the best. complete a miserable race where he had They are exciting and we do well in fallen twice, breaking and twisting one them. Let’s face it: we raise our children skating, sledding, and skiing, and ski? Wadsworth gave him a ski, quietly bending over to help Gafarov free himwe have a lot of time in the snow to self from the entangled mess and strap practice. There are sides to the Olympics I’m on the new one. The scene was carried not so crazy about. Thousands of people out with dignity and respect. Canadian athletes have heart and were displaced from their land in order to make way for the Olympic venues. I soul, and they care. Now that’s where cringe every time I think of the $53 bil- we are truly golden. And maybe that’s what drives the lion spent in preparation for the Games. American athletes crazy. In spite of beThink of all the mouths that would feed or medication that would buy. The ing this cold, northern land that seems a little goofy and small townish with our astronomical costs of the Games are quaint expression of eh? and great beer, something a democratic world doesn’t something is changing in our country. want to pay: it costs too much and And I think we’re all feeling it. taxpayers wouldn’t tolerate it. Instead I like to think that while the athletes the games this time were held within a dictator-led country where the average may have wanted to win for Canada, they knew we would have welcomed citizen doesn’t have much say in how them home with a warm embrace, proud the money is being spent. that they had given their best. Most of the Olympic athletes come This year’s Olympics brought out a from a middle- or upper-class background, from families that foster pride, rivalry between Canadian and American practice and perseverance. I’ve come to athletes like never before. Let’s face realize the Olympics may represent not it, we are different than our southern neighbours. And it comes out, especialnecessarily the finest in the world, but ly during the Winter Olympics. Andy the finest of the most fortunate. Even knowing this, my heart pumps Barrie got it right when he said, “We’ll explain the appeal of curling to you if with pride when any athlete wears the you explain the appeal of the National glorious maple leaf. Rifle Association to us!” Who could resist the determination The thing about Canadians is that we of our women’s hockey team? As my former husband texted me after the win- don’t just put it on for the camera. It is ning game, “Yes, it’s renewed my faith who we are. We have our own embarrassments and shortcomings, one of the in women!” biggest being that we always want to Who didn’t want to see the men’s hockey team beat a cocksure American apologize for ourselves. We can stop doing that. team? Or see Sidney Crosby score a On my last trip to New York I was beautiful, unassisted goal in a decisive gold-medal victory over Sweden? It was walking to the elevator of my hotel. Out rewarding for Mike Babcock, Canada’s of the corner of my eye I saw a man coach. I met Mike, a fellow Holy Cross looking as though he was catching the graduate, last summer at a concert (Eve- same elevator. Naturally I held the door ning Under the Stars) and admired that open for him. He got in, looked at me and commented that it was a very nice he was so accessible and gave of his gesture. I smiled, knowing I had just time to friends old and new so freely. been polite. Or how about the sportsmanship of “Where are you from?” he asked. Gilmore Junio? He gave up his spot on “Canada,” I answered. the speedskating team in order to let “That explains it. Most people would Denny Morrison compete. Junio thought have quickly pressed the Door Closed Morrison had a better chance to get a button. Most people here wouldn’t have medal. Or the Dufour-Lapointe sisters who been so nice.” I smiled, saying to myself, “Great to medalled in the ski-moguls competition, winning the hearts of everyone in be Canadian!”
Roger Parent, MLA Saskatoon Meewasin
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Ken Cheveldayoff MLA Saskatoon Silver Springs
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