That was the sound of Canadians breathing a collective sigh of relief. A gold medal safely won on home soil. Actually, the last 24 hours have brought a medal of each colour, so good news all around. Billions spent now justified.
Okay, okay -- I'll drop the cynicism now. I have NO use for the protesters yesterday who broke and smashed things to prove...what? The decisons have already been made, people. The money spent. No use setting fire to the barn once the horse has left the building. Unless...maybe you're looking for attention of a different sort? I fully support everyone's right to peaceful protest -- and I hope those who choose to do so continue.
HUGE congratulations to all the athletes who have made it here, are at the pinnacle of their respective sports, and show themselves to be true Olympians.
The cynic in me was quieted still more last night, after a tour around downtown Vancouver. This is the part of the Games I love.
I was surprised by how much the atmosphere felt like it had back in Calgary -- very family-friendly, lots of celebration and good sports. I was in the beer tent beside the Canada Pavilion in Live City
Downtown when the women's moguls was on, and the cheering for Jenn Heil was electric. When she was ousted at the very end by Hannah Keirney, though, everyone cheered for her, too.
Sadly, I ended up carrying a dead camera around with me all night, so the pix here are of sorry iPhone quality, but I have to say that the rain didn't deter the enthusiasm of the crowds who roamed Vancouver's streets on the first full day of the Olympic Games...and a great deal of fun was had by all.
[A quick pic summary from top to bottom: Crowds dance to bands at the LiveCity stage in Yaletown, Yahoo's FANcouver site in Yaletown [free internet!], a brilliant tree underneath the free zipline in Robson Square, the crowd celebrates Jenn Heil's silver near the Canada pavilion at LiveCity Downtown, the Four Host First Nations Pavilion on Georgia St by the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Canada Post celebrates the flag above the crowds on Hamilton Street, and the Hockey Night in Canada guys brave the rain outside the CBC and go live.]
We walked for around seven hours, and made it to a ton of the free sites and pavilions around downtown. If you are in the area, I highly recommend you lace on your good walking shoes and go out to take part.
You'll find a great summary of all the open sites in the Lower Mainland HERE. Tons to do. Enjoy a side of Vancouver rarely seen -- SO much fun to be had.
And to finish, a very beautiful poem I have permission to share with you from writer Dee-Ann LeBlanc. Dee-Ann is a naturalized Canadian-citizen, born in the US, and she is an avid and enthusiastic volunteer for the Games. She and I have shared the many tribulations of the lead-up to the Games, as we also share the same drive-way...the Sea to Sky highway. Her portion of it is longer and more dangerous than my own, since she lives near Squamish.
I'm thrilled she has allowed me to air her poetic thoughts here...
Thank you, Dee!