Wed, Mar 09, 2022
The Winter Olympics have a fantasy quality about them. They are the stuff of every kid’s dreams. Who hasn’t tried to build their own luge course in the backyard, or local hill? Who hasn’t, much to the chagrin of ski hill operators, tried to build a jump in the middle of the hill? I’m sure most of us can relate to recklessly trying to race your friends to the bottom of the slope, long before anyone had ever heard of Ski-Cross. The summer games are incredible, but with all due respect almost everyone can run, jump or throw. On the flip side very few of us can land a triple axel or throw down an air-to-fakie or jump off a 12-meter ski jump. The Winter Games are an incredible spectacle that often takes place in a snow globe environment.
These Games will be remembered for many things. They were our second COVID Games, and the first Winter Games to be hosted predominantly on manmade snow. For Canada it was the swan song for one of our greatest winter Olympians, while seeing others introduce themselves as future greats. These were the second Games in six months where a women’s team grabbed our attention and stole our hearts.
Captain Canada, Marie-Philip Poulin once again came through in the clutch and helped to guide the Canadian women’s hockey team back to where they belong, atop the podium. Fellow flag bearer Charles Hamelin finished his Olympic career with a golden flourish. He will retire tied with Cindy Klassen as Canada’s most decorated athletes, each winning six medals. Ottawa’s own Isabelle Wiedmann proved that Canadian long track speed skating is in good hands, both now and in the future, coming home with three medals. Every set of Games comes with disappointments and comebacks. Rarely does one athlete check both boxes in the same set of Games. Laurent Dubreuil showed quiet grace in defeat after falling just short of a medal in an event where he was a favourite. In a long track speed skating 500 meter sprint the difference between the gold and off the podium is measured in hundreds of a second. Dubreuil showed grit and determination by returning just days later to win a silver medal in the 1000 meter.
At the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville the International Olympic Committee asked the world to once again recognize the Olympic Truce. The Truce dates back to ancient Greece and was established to ensure a safe and peaceful environment for the Olympics. The Games were to be a symbol of peace, harmony and all that could be possible when nations work together. To this day the Truce is recognized by the release of a white dove at the opening of each Games.
If by the end of the Winter Olympics you were a little distracted, you weren’t alone. In Canada there were cross country blockades and protests. In Eastern Europe simmering hostilities would, upon the completion of the Games erupt into the largest armed conflict seen on the continent since 1945.
The sentiment of the Olympic Truce is something we need more of. It’s a shame the Olympics only come around every two years.