Weekly Commentary  

Now they believe!

They expected us as Canadians to be polite and we were.

They expected us to say “sorry” or “excuse me” a lot and we did.

They expected to hear a lot of sentiment about how Canadians perceive competition should be. You know, how it's not winning that matters, it's that you “had a good experience”. Or, "the main thing is that we all came together in a lovely sense of oneness".

Well, those are lofty and important expressions and 'yes', we did feel some of that. But they didn't expect that this time we had no intention whatsoever to 'share the podium'. We were out to own it.

International news commentators and broadcasters were at first amused, then increasingly taken aback that we were serious and as the daily count of Canadian gold piled up on the podium they were outright shocked.

As you've now heard, it was the largest haul of gold medals by any country in the entire history of the Winter Olympics.

All that winning and all of the other performances were a result of an uncompromising focus to win.

That focus doesn't just happen on the day of the event. It is planted and cultivated in the minds of young (and not so young) achievers years before they wait to hear the crack of the starter's gun on the big day.

If you raise up a generation with the thought that having a nice shared experience is the main thing, then guess what? You'll have a future generation that will have a nice shared experience and the rest of the world will get first place.

They'll get first in sports, first in science, first in business, first in high tech, first in job interviews…and on it goes.

I realize from my own experience in sports and competition generally, that you don't always win the gold. And it is absolutely essential to teach the importance of perseverance, fair play, honesty, graciousness whether you win or lose, and all the other noble virtues.

However if you aim for something less than best, you'll hit the lesser target every time.

Our Olympic team aimed for best. They didn't want to settle for less. Look at the heartbroken response of one of our female athletes who wept openly that she felt she had let us down. Or our great cross country skier who sobbed unashamedly that after a fabulous 50 kilometer performance he missed the gold by one and a half seconds.

I wouldn't dare tell these athletes they shouldn't feel that way. Let them experience that moment. You don't have to worry about them.

The very fact they can feel so deeply about not winning the gold means that they have the strength of character to move on to the next challenge.

I say to them ‘Bravo’.

There's another gold level performance that needs to be highlighted. It's the way we celebrated on the streets themselves. I have never in my life seen anything like it.

During the 17 Olympic days (and nights) I had ongoing meetings back and forth from right here in the riding, to Ottawa and back to Vancouver. I didn't get to many of the actual events but I sure got to a lot of the sites.

Watching the final hockey game and the closing ceremonies at the outside live sites with thousands of cheering (okay, screaming) Canadians was a golden experience itself. Walking for hours shoulder to shoulder along Vancouver's main streets in a sea of high fiving, anthem singing, flag waving and stranger hugging humanity was unforgettable.

The police were incredible. They truly kept the peace. Yes, the first weekend a handful of balaclava clad goons tried to steal the limelight but the evenhanded police and the crowds of citizens themselves sent a clear message of intolerance towards these violent intolerant thugs.

The rest is marvelous history.

Positive results are already coming in showing monetary profits for the taxpayer that will be in the millions, job creating numbers in the tens of thousands, infrastructure legacies for generations to come and dream building examples of achievement and hope for every one of us.

O Canada...  

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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