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We did it.  We got our first medal.  It’s a bronze meaning there were at least two other competitors better than we were, but it’s still a statement  that we finished in the top 3 in the event.  We’ve broken through in the London Olympics.  And it’s still early—which leads to the confident hopefulness this is just the first of more to come.  Way to go Canada.

I smile as I re-read the above paragraph.  Don’t get me wrong—I love the fact that we gained this medal–and pre-emptive congratulations to all the Canadian competitors.  I honour your perseverance to get to the Olympics and I salute your presence there.  But I remember a few years back when we hosted the summer Olympics in Montreal and we accomplished one medal in the entire games—literally “one”.  A silver in the men’s high jump.  Atta boy Greg.  Nobody was saying it was “okay” but nobody was lighting their hair on fire either calling for national investigations.  We were just happy to say “we were there”.

But times have changed in Canada.  It’s no longer good enough just to participate.  Achieving a medal is now expected and expected multiple times not just periodic times.  That’s good.  Nobody truly competes unless they seek a prize.  But I am old school–I take pride in our Canadian athletes showing up and bringing their best to the event.  If they have competed to the best of their abilities and still haven’t medalled, well so be it. I am still proud of them.

I watched the opening ceremonies the other evening.  I loved the program put on by the Brits.  Well done folks.  It really was good.  But I still enjoyed just as much the coverage of the athletes entering the stadium…little nations sending 1 or 2 or 5 athletes…larger nations sending teams of several hundred.  The net effect was that they were all  there.  I welled up seeing the Canadians enter the stadium.  Yes they had their individual disciplines but for those few moments, it didn’t matter.  They were a team of Canadians, being led by a man carrying a Canadian flag, wearing Canadian colours.  And the joy that was in their eyes as they danced their way forward inspired me.  

Enjoy the Olympics Canadian team.  I am proud that you represent my country so well.  The Spirit of the Olympics is greater than the event itself.

Oh yeah, in my opinion, the best part of the entire evening was still Mr. Bean.  Smile.