Of all my time in Vancouver nothing has, or likely ever will, rival the incredible days the Olympics brought to this city. The energy and the joyousness of the worldly crowd was incredible. I don’t think anyone realized it would gain such a phenomenal Canadian following. The final medal event of the Olympics, Mens Ice Hockey, was watched by 80% of all Canadians! Over 26 million people across the country were watching when Canada won in overtime. When the winning goal was scored the entire country could be heard cheering. Downtown Vancouver erupted in celebration as everyone poured onto the streets.
Our Olympic experience was tremendously fulfilling. We were there in person for the countdown to the opening ceremonies and I have never been so excited at a live event. The feeling in the arena was electric and it actually gave me goosebumps. The first athletic event I saw in person was the Men’s Moguls, and what an event it was. Canadian’s held top positions for most of the afternoon, and in the second last run a Canadian did a gold medal winning performance, producing the first Gold Medal ever won on home soil in three Olympics. The crowd went nuts and I could barely speak the following day from cheering so much.
We witnessed many of the world’s top athletes perform and inspire as they progressed through the tournament including our Canadian men’s hockey team, curling team, and women’s bobsleigh team. We reveled in the crowds, the fun international pavilions (German House, Heineken House, Irish House), the free concerts and street performances, and the evening firework shows, soaking up the amazing atmosphere.
We were there when the women won the gold medal in hockey, when the men won the gold in the team speed skating and shared in their joy as they took the podium. We even held a 2010 Olympic Gold medal.
The Olympics turned out to be a life highlight for me. Travel writers have said attending these is like witnessing a world wonder, and I now have to agree. I would now love to see them again sometime in my life (London, Sochi, Rio), but I don’t think any of them will compare to celebrating them in your home country, in your own town.