Words escape me.
With powerful memories of the Vancouver Olympics and Whistler Paralympics still fresh in my mind, l booked a trek to the London Games. Yes, I’m incredibly spoiled.
I write to you from Olympic Stadium at this very moment.
The appropriate words to describe how I feel are far beyond my writing skills or even my fictional powers. In part because I was worried that after spending all the time and money to get here that it wouldn’t be as amazing as the 2010 Games.
Silly me. It is unreal here.
First off the access to Olympic Park is ridiculously easy. We haven’t been in a line yet. Same with Beach Volleyball. Will let you know next week how our other three venues are.
The security personnel and volunteers and soldiers are all super friendly. Seeing the army on guard is terribly reassuring at a high-threat Games.
Every volunteer seems determined to outdo the other. Every ticket taker is begging for attention. Even the food staff is “half” decent.
Beyond convenience, the venues are overwhelming. Beautiful. Sweeping. Massive. Welcoming. If ancient Greeks time-travelled to August 2012, they would be impressed by what they started. It’s clear to me the scale of a Summer Games makes a Winter effort seem unjustly insignificant.
The winning moments are as magical as you can imagine. But it’s the losing ones that show the true spirit of the fans and spectators. You see the cheering doesn’t end when the finish line has been broken. In fact, it gets louder. Athletes that have been lapped, injured, defaulted, and eliminated receive a raucous and spirited welcome to the end.
Remarkably it happens at every event. Unprompted. Unscripted.
I was at Canada House to watch much of our semi-final women’s soccer game versus the USA. Every goal, every save, every Sinclair moment created a thunderous roar. But none of it compared to the standing ovation we gave to the TV sets as our women left the field after the heartbreaking finish.
The room was filled with dozens of athletes, former athletes, and sports officials. They know better than anyone how much unwavering support can mean.
Cheer to the end. It’s an Olympic value.