It was an Olympic Games that had its share of well-publicized problems. It seems like the international media liked to give Vancouver a hard time over things it couldn’t control, like the weather. And things it could, like the public transportation.
I’m not sure there has ever been a Winter Olympics where spectators were wearing shorts to watch ice hockey and curling. It was an unseasonably warm winter that looked a lot more like spring. But when the rain stopped bucketing down no-one cared. Vancouver shone like a precious gem when the sun came out. Visitors and locals enjoyed the best of both worlds. The Winter Olympics were happening and the cherry blossoms were blooming.
But that leads me too another complaint I heard a lot. Canucks didn’t know HOW to celebrate. As a nation, they contended, the Canadians are too reserved and understated. They chided us for not reacting with enough enthusiasm when Alex Bilodeau won Canada’s first gold medal on home soil.
Au contraire mes amis - a little shout out there for those who complained that there wasn’t enough French spoken at the opening ceremonies.
There was mad nationalism going on in Vancouver.
The streets were a sea of red and white jerseys. If you didn’t have a pair of those adorable red mittens you couldn’t leave your house. And everyone had the standard issue maple leaf temporary tattoo on their cheeks.
I was lucky enough to attend the USA-Canada women’s hockey gold medal game. The Canadian fans were wrapped in flags, carrying signs, and shouting out cheers for the home team.
And the crowd was on its feet for the final minutes of the game as Canada beat Team USA, 2-0.
And then came the medal ceremony. The Canadian crowd cheered loudly for the women from Finland, who were ecstatic over their Bronze medal result. And then came the American women’s team, visibly upset by their loss.
The Canadian crowd started chanting. First it was a handful of voices – and then it was thousands. Pretty soon, the entire arena was filled with the deafening sound of Canadian fans chanting:
And maybe that’s what makes Canadians seem like we lack that fighting, nationalistic fervor.
Canadians cheer for everyone.
We cheer the effort as much as the result.
We like our flag plenty, but we like yours too.