Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sharing the Flame

Last night, B and I went downtown to be a part of the festivities surrounding the arrival of the Olympic torch to Calgary.
I've always had a love for the Winter Olympics, starting with the 1994 Olympics in Norway, where for some reason I was cheering for Switzerland. During the 1998 Olympics in Japan, for a gym project I had to make a scrapbook of information about each Canadian medalist and his or her sport, which only served to get me more excited about winter olympic sports. While I haven't paid as much attention to more recent Olympics, the fact that they are held this year once again in Canada means they're a lot easier to get excited about.
It really was exciting to be a part of everything last night.
To join the hordes of people milling around downtown, all smiling and waving flags and wearing red or 1988 Olympic toques and coats or 2010 Olympic clothing.
To see the big flame on top of the Calgary Tower lit, presiding over everything, even though it has long lost its stature as the tallest building downtown.
To hear "his worship" our mayor Dave Bronconnier sidestep the host's gushy and annoying question about Canadian spirit, pointing to the crowds of Calgarians as proof of unifying Olympic spirit in our city.
To sing O Canada with everyone, albeit collectively slightly off-key .
To be told that 50% of the Canadians going to the Vancouver Olympics live and train in Alberta.
To hear that an estimated 20 000 Calgarians turned out last night and that Calgary's torch relay festivities were the biggest across Canada.
And to remember that Calgary is the only other city in Canada to have hosted the Winter Olympics.
Yes, I am proud to live in Calgary, uncool though it may be to buy into the uncritical excitement. It was fun to unabashedly be a part last night. I'm ok with being dorky like that. I like that we have an Olympic Plaza downtown.. I think that being the host of the 1988 Olympics symbolizes the energy that our city has contained in the past, and the legacy that event continues to bear. On a side note, trying out olympic sports have been on my "bucket list" of things to do in life for ages. I'd like to try bobsledding but unfortunately, that won't be happening any time soon--at least not while I'm pregnant. :D Trying speed-skating at the Olympic Oval--"the fastest ice in the world"--was also on my to-do list, but we did that last Valentine's Day and it was every bit as exhilarating as I had anticipated.


Peter and Lorraine said...

It is awesome to hear how many showed up last night! Very good indication in my mind, of the Olympic spirit and the appreciation of having it in Calgary in 1988. It is a good thing to have Olympics in Canada every 20 years or so, just to "re-kindle the flame".

molly. said...

You're giving me goose bumps :)

Jorgen said...

There were a lot of people in Lacombe to see the torch too. As an indicator; the fire department was asked to cook hot dogs. The guys were supplied with 700 hot dogs. In half an hour all of the hot dogs were gone and there were a ton of people who waited for more dogs to be cooked.

Doug and I went on the roof of the fire hall and watched the parade of vehicles go by and finally the runner with the torch. It was neat to be able to watch that and "be a part"