We in St. Vital can be doubly proud to have in our midst two very talented, and now world-famous, sports figures: Jonathan Toews of Canada’s men’s Olympic hockey team and Jennifer Jones of the women’s Olympic curling team.
With the full participation of their teams, both these St. Vital athletes earned Canada coveted gold medals fat Sochi — remarkable feats.
There’s more. Our women’s hockey team as well as the men’s curling team, with Winnipegger Ryan Fry as their third, also brought home the gold.
Someone at the Winnipeg Free Press referred to these four victories as a "Double Double," but the Tim Hortons cream-&-sugar motif pales by comparison!
These Canadian teams outperformed their rivals at the Olympics and brought indisputable fame to our country — and home town.
There were many other Canadian athletes who fine-tuned their skills and earned a spot on the podium at Sochi. Think of the days and years of practise. How else did we end up with a count of 25 medals: 10 gold, 10 silver, and 5 bronze? The sister act of Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe with the gold and silver wins in the moguls is just one example.
Then there were those who won our affection for totally different reasons —people such as figure skater Patrick Chan. After all his unrelenting perseverance, he ended up with a second-place silver. So disappointed was he that he turned to the world in all humility and apologized for letting his country down. It took Rex Murphy of the National CBC News to decipher this apology as a most sincere and gallant act. He thus elevated Chan in our eyes and removed the stigma of failure that the skater had imposed upon himself. Thank you, Patrick — and thank you, Rex, for your astute analysis.
Other stellar moments where the true spirit of the Games shone through:
a) Speed skater Gilmore Junio gave his spot in the 1,000-metre race to his teammate, Denny Morrison, who’d fallen in the trials and not made the list. Now Denny doesn’t know how he can repay his friend for his unselfishness. But he already has — he brought home silver.
b) Canadian skier Alexandre Bilodeau, gold medallist in the freestyle skiing event, pulled his handicapped older brother up to the podium to celebrate with him. Human emotions — it’s easy to empathize with this loving family...
Sochi was impressive in every way: beautiful setting, big venues, big crowds, big expenses — big everything.
As one commentator stated, the country’s government mattered not — it was a triumph of the world’s athletic Olympian community. And Putin’s.
We owe Greece a huge debt of gratitude for staging the first Olympics and for introducing democracy to the world. These are undeniably cherished Canadian ideals — embodied in that iconic Games symbol, the Olympic flame. May it burn brightly forever...
Anne Yanchyshyn is a community correspondent for St. Vital.