The Vancouver 2010 Olympics started just over 1 year ago. It was a magical time, especially here in Canada. The theme song of I Believe rang true throughout the whole Olympics. It seemed to be a strange choice of song in the beginning, but as the medals started coming in, it became a song of inspiration and hope.
There was a lot of pressure on Canadian athletes to win Gold on home soil, especially since a Gold medal had never been won at home by a Canadian in the past. The government and private investors invested huge dollars for the Own the Podium program to help fund those aspired to win Gold at home. There were many well-known names that had tremendous pressure to win Gold. These were the people Canada was counting on. Everyone expected mogul skier, Jennifer Heil to be the country’s first Gold medalist on home soil. Everyone seemed disappointed that she still managed to medal in silver. The from out the ashes arose the phoenix. Alexandre Bilodeau won Olympic Gold in the men’s mogul race that evening of February 15, 2010.
It was awe-inspiring to watch the interviews with Alexandre afterward and how his brother with cerebral palsy inspired his athleticism. Having that first Gold off our plates, our athletes soared and took home 14 Gold medals in total. Everyone was excited; the athletes, and the entire country from coast to coast. Each had their story to tell and have become inspirations for the up and coming athletes for generations to come.
Canada was filled with inspirational stories of athletes during the 2010 games. From that moment of the first Gold medal, to the “golden goal” that ended the games with a Gold medal in men’s hockey, to the overcoming of grief and sadness of a loss mother and friend of Joannie Rochette who amazed everyone and won Olympic Bronze in women’s figure skating.
Being in Canada, the media was all focused on Canada, Canada, Canada. What medals will we bring home? Who will bring them home for us? One of the few stories of international athletes that really made the headlines was that of the Georgian Nodar Kumaritashvili’s tragic death. However, there was one event that really struck a chord and inspired me.
I was watching the Women’s 1.4 km individual classic sprint cross-country on t.v., and was naturally cheering for our Canadian athletes when a story caught my eye. During that morning’s training session, Slovenia’s medal hopeful Petra Majdic fell into a creek bed and injured herself. She decided to go ahead and compete in the qualifying round, and managed to qualify for the next round. I was amazed that she did as well as she did, as it looked like she was in intense pain. Yet she persevered and made it through to the final round where to everyone’s amazement, she won a Bronze medal. After each round she had to be helped off the track, yet through it all she pushed herself and did her absolute best.
It goes to show you, when you want something bad enough, you can certainly beat all odds to obtain it. Never let go of your lofty goals. For Olympic athletes, the chance to win Gold, let alone have an Olympic experience, only comes around every 4 years. They train rigorously for years in preparation of one defining moment. For those that succeed, they never gave up, even through injuries, personal losses, and any other hardships. They never lost sight of their ultimate goal. They all believed. Will you?