If you have been tuning into the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia the last couple of weeks, it’s clear there has been plenty to cheer about as a Canadian.
A whopping 221 Canadian athletes made their way to Sochi to show the world what they are capable of. It is the largest Canadian Olympic team yet. A victory before the games even began came in the form of 100 of those 221 athletes being women – the largest contingency to represent Canada ever.
Every day of the games there has been countless awe-inspiring and amazing performances from our talented athletes. We have dominated in several different sports, bringing home medals in skiing, snowboarding, figure skating, speed skating, hockey, and more.
Taking a step away from the podium, there is the heart-warming story of a Canadian cross country ski coach. After seeing a Russian competitor’s ski break, the coach came to his rescue, allowing the Russian athlete to complete the race in his home country. If that’s not something to be proud of, I don’t know what is.
In a place like the Elk Valley, so many of us have relocated, or are just visiting from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and many other countries all over the world. Each and every one of us has something to cheer for. We may not all be rooting for the same team, but at the end of the day we all share the same pride in watching hard-working athletes live out their dreams as the world watches.
The Olympics are a celebration of sport, a celebration of national pride, and most importantly, a celebration of unity. There can be no winners without challengers. That is what the Olympic ideal is all about: it is the competition itself that brings us all together and lifts. While the triumphs too are celebrated, they are secondary.
Of the nearly 2,900 athletes that will compete in the games, only 294 medals will be awarded. But whether or not they return home with a medal around their neck, each athlete will have the unforgettable experience of being part of a world championship.
So as we enter the final days of the competition, cheer not only for your home country, but for the opposition, without whose efforts the games would be pointless. Support the goal those 2,900 athletes are striving for, and help them in “building a peaceful and better world through solidarity, team spirit, joy, and optimism in sport.” That is the podium they all own.