It’s some time between 3-4pm on Sunday, February 28 and Merlin’s Bar in Whistler is absolutely roaring with excitement. A waiter is dressed up as a hockey player, complete with pants, helmet and “Slap Shot“-esque glasses with tape around the rim. Canadian flags are waiving, strangers are hugging and beer glasses are clinking. The crowd is chanting “Go Canada Go!”
Outside, the sun shines golden bright – the first sign of sun in a few days – and a random hockey game has broken out on the sidewalk.
In Whistler Village, Blue Rodeo is jamming to a packed crowd. There is red everywhere and street performers are wandering through the ecstatic crowd. The mood is pure joy.
This is the moment I will treasure forever: the day Canadian men’s hockey team won gold on home ice, making Canada’s gold medal count the largest of any nation at the Winter Olympic Games and throwing our entire country into a frenzy of pride.
The 2010 Winter Games have meant so many things to so many people. To me, it has brought out a feeling of national pride that I’ve never felt before. It’s introduced me to new experiences: from wielding a giant Swiss cowbell to learning about the difference between German and Bavarian culture to swigging foreign vodka at the Bearfoot Bistro’s Belvedere Ice Room. The Village of Whistler has been the backdrop of many memorable moments. Remember gold medalist Jon Montgomery as swilled a jug of beer on his way to a CTV interview?
Or the Whistler appearance of Canada 1 and Canada 2 women’s bobsleigh teams that owned the podium with gold and silver?
The last 17 days have been a blur of old friends, new friends, concerts, multimedia shows, random characters, patriotism and amazing experiences. These amazing adventures over the last 17 days will forever be etched in my mind. These have truly been some of the best times of my life and I’m so very proud to be a Canadian and proud of the positive lasting impression the world has of our country:
We are a nation with hockey fever. We say “thank you” to our bus drivers. We love William Shatner and Neil Young. We have moose and beavers and mounties and we can laugh at ourselves and our mistakes, as per the closing ceremonies. I hope you all enjoyed the Games as much as I did and see you in Sochi 2014!