I have never felt anything like watching first Alexandre Bilodeau and then Maelle Ricker win gold medals. The athleticism is amazing, but, for me, what is even more exciting is seeing these young(er) people represent some of what is best of Canadian culture – being humble, grateful, thanking their family, friends, volunteers. These games have gone farther in trying to identify those seemingly controversial and sometimes denigrated qualities than anything i have so far experienced in my life.
I first heard these Canadian qualities represented in the opening ceremony by Shane Koyczan, a spoken word artist, who was in the opening ceremonies and did a piece called We Are More. One line in there has been quoted back to me a number of times:
and some say what defines us is something as simple as
“please” and “thank you”
and as for “your welcome”
well, we say that too
This line says to me that it is good enough to be polite in a world that often times seems such the opposite. We aren’t British polite, stiff upper lip and all, but we are polite with feeling.
Bilodeau represented this, from thanking and giving credit to his brother with cerebreal palsy, to urging his teammates to go out there and get more gold. He was in all senses of the word selfless.
Ricker was as well so unassuming, she just oozed youthful exuberance. I was blown away when someone told me she was 31 – she struck me to be 18 – not in a negative way, but in a “I’m young and lovin’ life” sort of way.
So, as i know i have been slammed for writing negative things in this blog about VANOC, and I stand by my criticism, I cannot help but feel that the Olympics has moved Canada along the way to defining itself on it’s on terms. We will truly be able to stand on the world stage and say (with a smile of course) “We are nice, and if you don’t like it, screw you! .. please.”