Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Thanks, Mellisa, for building our pride

  • Print

Dear Mellisa Hollingsworth:


I have a message from all Canadian sports fans: We still love you.

We know you did not win a gold medal in your skeleton race at Whistler and that you ended up fifth.

But we think you, and a lot of other Canadian athletes, are being way too hard on yourselves.

You broke our hearts when you told CTV after the final race: "I feel like I've let my entire country down."

Actually, it's quite the opposite.

You lifted us up.

You see, you made us care.

We cared enough to sit on the edge of our seats as you raced down the sliding track. We cared enough to wince when you wobbled during your final run because, yes, we have learned enough about skeleton now to know what that means -- a slower time, a lost medal chance. We were excited and thrilled. Our hearts pounded.

We felt disappointed, sure, but disappointed for you, not because of you.

We did not always care.

Some of us are old enough to remember when watching the Winter Olympics merely involved following the exploits of athletes we had never heard of from other countries, and hoping Canada did well in figure skating.

Now we watch a crop of Canadian athletes like you who are at or near the top of the world in your sports. We care how you do. We know your names. We want you to win and it hurts when you lose because we know how good you are.

Remember Calgary in 1988? Okay, you were seven, and probably not following it much.

But believe me, it was not the same for Canadian fans.

The only Canadian competitors most of us had heard of were Brian Orser, a figure skater who lost the Battle of the Brians and got a silver medal, and Gaetan Boucher, a superb speedskater who was the Cindy Klassen of his day -- his best Olympics came four years before he competed at home.

We were over the moon when Elizabeth Manley won a surprise silver in figure skating.

In the end, Canada didn't even crack the top 10 in the medal count, finishing 13th with two silvers and three bronze.

But we did not care that much because we did not expect much.

All that has changed. You and your fellow athletes have made Canada a winter sports power. While we turn off our TVs at the end of the Olympics, you go back to the hard slog of training, competing and getting better. You win world championships, break records and set a wonderful example for our children.

And when we watch you now we look on with knowledge, admiration and pride. We know you can win. You have proven it. You have made us all winners and winners hate to lose.

That's why it hurts -- in a way that feels so good.

Because it didn't used to hurt.

So don't apologize to us.

We care, and for that we all want to thank you.


Bob Cox is the publisher

of the Winnipeg Free Press.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 24, 2010 A13

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Jets fans decibel level through roof for first playoff game at MTS Centre

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • July 1, 2012 - 120701  -   Canada Day fireworks at The Forks from the Norwood Bridge Sunday, July 1, 2012.    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

About Bob Cox

Bob Cox was named publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press in November 2007. He joined the newspaper as editor in May 2005.

"Rejoined" is a better word for it, because Bob first worked at the newspaper as a reporter in January 1984. He covered crime and courts for three years before getting restless and moving on to other journalism jobs.

Since then, his career has spanned four provinces and five cities. Highlights include working in Ottawa for the Canadian Press covering Prime Minister Jean Chrétien during his first term in office, and five years at the Globe and Mail in Toronto, first as national editor and later as night editor.

Bob grew up on a farm in southwestern Ontario, but has spent most of his adult life in Western Canada in Winnipeg, Regina and Edmonton.


Do you think the Jets will win Game 4 on Wednesday?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google