Team Canada didn’t so well this time around in London; 18 medals, only one was gold. In this case the medals were only part of the story. The other part was how our athletes conducted themselves off the field of play that counted as well; with dignity and good humour that comes to characterize this country. When I think of these games I’ll remember the other part of the Whitfield story; when the athlete who crashed with him left a touching letter on his facebook page ending with an invitation to visit him to Costa Rica. I’ll remember the boy in Newfoundland who offered the heartbroken 4X100 metre relay team his Tim Hortons Timbits soccer medal.
I’ll remember the Women’s soccer team’s run to the Bronze Medal. Who could forget the post-game outbursts following the game against the Americans? Emotional yes, but true. I’ll remember even after they won the medal Captain Christine Sinclair wouldn’t back down for her comments- displaying still another Canadian characteristic; standing by her opinions and refusing to back down. I’ll remember the grin on her face as she carried that flag in at the closing ceremonies.
I’ll even remember the apologies. Paula Findlay’s after coming in last at the women’s triathlon was tearful, and Jared Connaughton of the Relay team’s heartfelt. In my opinion Olympic athletes should never have to apologize. Being at the Olympics means you are at the top of your game, in better shape than most of us can ever hope to be, and have made sacrifices we can never imagine. Don’t ever apologize for that. If anything it’s we who should be apologizing to you for failing to financially support you as much as we can.
The stories of these Olympics tell a lot about a country’s character. After all how many of us will remember who the Gold medalist was at sychronized swimming in four years? My guess is not many. It’s the stories that will stick with us.