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Olympics Day 17 – Oh Canada, what an ending!

March 1, 2010

A day unlike anything I’ve ever lived through, or am ever likely to again.  February 28th, 2010 will be a day, a memory, that I carry with me for the rest of my life, and I know I’m not alone.  Millions of Canadians, and billions of people around the world will have memories of today and that is a wonderful and stunning thing.  Alright, from the beginning, since that would be logical and if I don’t let logic guide me tonight then all that will result is tears and they don’t show up so well on the internet.

The morning was simple.  We had breakfast at home (potato pancakes… mmm…) and then tried to go to a pub to watch the game.  But it was already 11:30am and the pub we wanted to go to was full, and so was the False Creek Yacht Club and Nu!  So we decided not to fight it and just watch the Canada-USA men’s Gold Medal Ice Hockey game from home.  And what a game!  Canada came out strong and went up 2-0 but the Americans fought back and tied it in the last minute of play in the third, sending us to overtime!  It was tense, stressful, approaching traumatizing even, but then Sidney Crosby scored in overtime and won Canada the Gold Medal!

Jo-Anne, Justin, Doug, myself and Wade watching the Canada-USA game.

All tied up (can you spot the American? 🙂 ).

Where were you when the goal was scored?  Where you somewhere that the world erupted around you?

I was at home with family and friends and we went wild, but we certainly not the only ones.  The city cheered all at once.  I could hear it, literally.  If I stayed quiet for just a few seconds I could hear boats, voices, whistles and horns all cheer for Canada.  And as fantastic as it was to hear the whole city (and I really suspect, the whole country) raise its voice all at once it was more amazing to understand how long this went for.  Actually, without exaggerating, it is now at least 6 hours after the Gold Medal Game ended and I can still hear people cheering (and I’m writing from the pantry!).  It is loud and obvious that in this city, this region, this country – we are proud!  We are patriotic and for the first time in my memory (and I’m assured by others, their memory) that Canada has had such an outpouring of pride and elation.  It is simply amazing.

Hmm... maybe I could get a job as a mime... a very Canadian mime...

And as good as winning the Gold Medal in Men’s Ice Hockey was we then had to get ourselves to BC Place to watch the Closing Ceremonies.  Yes, I got to go, along with my Mom, Jo-Anne and Justin.  Just the walk over was a treat.  People were randomly high-fiving in the streets.  There was singing, cheering, hooting and hollering.  There were smiles everywhere and excitement.  And there were a lot of people heading to BC Place so it was pretty wonderful.

Gold Canada Gold!

We quickly got through security at the stadium and had to head straight into our seats to make sure we didn’t miss any of the audience participation training.  We got suited up, taught how to use our props and as much as I wasn’t ready for the Olympics to end I was looking forward to the show.  And what a show it was!

Jo-Anne and my mom at the Closing Ceremonies!

Practicing with props. These were for later in the show. Pretty spiffy!

It started simply, by poking fun at our own errors, as Canadians so often do.  A Cirque du Soleil clown emerged from the floor by the three standing legs of the Cauldron, he looked around, wandered over to where the fourth leg should be and plugged in the power so the fourth leg would rise to join the Cauldron finally.  The Cauldron in BC Place wasn’t lit at this point (they couldn’t keep it going during the Games as it likely would have taken the roof off the place before they were ready for it) but then Catriona Le May Doan got her chance to light the whole Cauldron, after missing out on her leg during the Opening Ceremonies.  It was fantastic!

Our Cirque du Soleil clown found the problem with the fourth leg... it wasn't plugged in! Good thing he was there to fix it for us!

Catriona Le May Doan after lighting the Olympic Cauldron in BC Place for the Closing.

Everything happened so fast but each moment also seemed like a lifetime.  We sang ‘O Canada’ as our flag was raised.  We watched as the flags of all of the nations that competed entered the stadium, and then the athletes, all mixed together, no longer separated by country.  We watched as the Medallists in the Men’s 50km Cross-Country race got their Medals (what a Victory Ceremony for them!).  We thanked the athletes, the volunteers and the Host region for their hard work, fair play and excitement.  And then the Olympic Flag was lowered, and passed on to Sochi, and then it was their turn for a show…

Some of our Canadian athletes entering the stadium. Gold Canada Gold!

We were all feeling patriotic tonight. Truly a wonderful crowd to be in.

The winners of the Men's 50km mass start classic cross-country ski race: Gold - Petter Northug, Norway, Silver - Axel Teichmann, Germany, and Bronze - Johan Olssen, Sweden.

They had the symphony playing in Moscow at 5:30 in the morning so that they were participating live with us in Vancouver.  There were ballerinas, glowing people in large plastic bouncy balls, fireworks and welcomes.  Sochi made sure that we all know that we are invited to join them in 2014 and they did a beautiful job of it.

Some of the ball people from Sochi's presentation.

Ball people and ball fireworks, part of Sochi's presentation. Very cool!

Speeches came next, John Furlong was funny and inspiring, as he has been all along.  And then the IOC President, Jacques Rogge, declared the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics closed, as we all knew had to happen, but I cried and boo-ed along with the rest of the crowd.  I was not the only one not ready to have the Olympics end.  The Cauldron went out, and the Olympic Flame ended its time in Vancouver.  I’m crying now just thinking of it.  I guess I’m still not ready.

As sad as the ending of the Games is, the show, the party that we put on to celebrate the Closing continued to be wonderful, and for me at least, hit spectacular!  ‘I am Canadian’ – Catherine O’Hara, William Shatner and Michael J. Fox spoke to us on how they are  Canadian (sorry, I won’t recount it all here but it involved making love in canoes and reaching the final frontier, sorry).  And then the ‘Made in Canada’ started, with giant Mounties and table hockey players (with Gold Medals around their necks), beavers and moose.  There were dancing voyageurs in canoes, lumberjacks, Mounties, hockey players and maple leafs.  Michael Buble sang ‘The Maple Leaf Forever’ from the top of a giant Mountie hat.  It was spectacular and over the top and frickin’ hilarious!  The evening ended with a concert including artists like Nickelback, Avril Lavigne, and Alanis Morissette.  Fireworks closed the show, both inside and out (I’ve yet to see all of what happened outside of BC Place but what I did see looked magnificent!).  And then it was time to come home.

Catherine O'Hara's 'I am Canadian'. Sorry, I just had to include it!

Michael J. Fox's 'I am Canadian'. We were really spoiled with great performers!

Giant table hockey players with dancing Mounties and hockey players too!

Two words - Giant Beaver.

Michael Buble. This was a zany and fabulous show!

Glowing beach balls were released into the crowd for the concert. They changed colours when they were touched!

The crowds were still jubilant on our way out.  There were still cheers, and whistles and high-fives on the streets.  From a distance we saw the last of the fireworks at LiveCity Yaletown.  I’m so happy that the Closing Ceremonies were such a party or I would be nothing but morose, instead I am a bit melancholy but mostly I am proud.  I am proud of what we offered the world with the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.  I am proud at how wonderful everything was.  I am proud to be Canadian.

And I am proud to be writing about and volunteering at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.  I hope you’ll join me and cheer on our athletes, athletes from all over the world.  Thank you merci to all of you that read my posts.  It’s been wonderful to have you share this journey.  And though part of the journey is done… there is still more to come.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. March 1, 2010 12:13 pm

    SPECDUCKULAR!!!!!!

  2. Tom permalink
    March 1, 2010 12:26 pm

    The relighting of the flame was funny and beautiful. A brilliant idea.

    Very sad to be home – but I watched the Ice Hockey and Closing Ceremony on the TV. Very jealous of not being in Vancouver when the match finished – I can imagine the atmosphere. Go Canada Go! You deserved it.

    Well done Vancouver for doing the Olympics proud.

  3. Cynde permalink
    March 1, 2010 12:29 pm

    Thank you again for your insights and efforts to keep the rest of us informed all while you must have been one busy gal! It would take me all day to figure out the transit schedules and to think you did multiple methods of transport all in a day’s norm! I’m impressed..

    A gal I know is volunteering at the Para Olympic games…Her name is Kathy Yanke from Salmon Arm.

    Merci to you!!! Enjoyed it all so much…
    Cynde Russell

  4. Lisa permalink
    March 1, 2010 12:29 pm

    Thanks so much, Andrea, for sharing your Olympic journey with us! You restored my faith in those early days, when things were going wrong. You reminded us of how wonderful it is to think positive and be optimistic – a good lesson in day-to-day living for us all! I’ll always remember the 2010 VanFan blog!

  5. V. Allard permalink
    March 1, 2010 12:35 pm

    I have truly enjoyed this blog, throughout the Olympics, super writing, reporting, photos & overall coverage…how did you possibly cover so much, you really made us readers feel as if we were there with you…thank you so very much….Go Canada Go! So very proud to be a Canadian, eh?
    All the best to you & your continued endeavours…
    V. Allard

    • 2010vanfan permalink
      March 11, 2010 11:01 am

      Thanks so much for your kind words and for commenting! I really appreciate it. Sorry I’ve been slow in replying… I’ve been trying to catch up on my sleep! 😀

      Regards,
      Andrea

  6. March 1, 2010 2:05 pm

    To the lone American in the picture: I feel your pain!

    Here is the story behind the glowing balls that changed color!

    http://www.macetech.com/blog/

    • 2010vanfan permalink
      March 11, 2010 11:01 am

      Thanks for the link! Very cool!

      Cheers!
      Andrea

  7. March 1, 2010 2:19 pm

    Hey there Andrea,

    I normally do not get sentimental during events… event at weddings I am the one with dry eyes! However, I have to admit at the Closing Ceremonies I was actually teary eyed. I cannot believe that the 2010 Olympics are over.

    Though what a beautiful journey!! I am so fortunate along with everyone else reading your blogs which have been a like bright beacons leading up to and during the games 

    Thank you,
    Hardeep

  8. Bob permalink
    March 1, 2010 5:12 pm

    Hi from Vermont, USA. I found the ceremonies very emotional. I am not big on campy displays. But I found the closing ceremony very touching and bittersweet. I always get a little sad to see the Olympic games come to an end. And I have had great times in Vancouver and at Whistler. So I’m disappointed that the great images of a city and landscape that I enjoy so much have come to a close. But I thought the folks behind the games did a great job of restoring confidence after some early tragedy, mishaps, and bad weather. You should all be proud as British Columbians and Canadians. I hope to see the Winter Olympics return to your country soon!

    • 2010vanfan permalink
      March 11, 2010 10:55 am

      Thanks Bob!! Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply… I’ve been catching up on sleep! 😀

      I hope you’ll have a chance to watch some of the Paralympics too!

      Regards,
      Andrea

  9. Earl permalink
    March 1, 2010 11:07 pm

    Andrea,

    I also had tears in my eyes as the Olympic Flame went out. I’ll never think of that Neil Young song the same way. Hopefully I won’t burst into tears every time I hear it from now on – it has some fitting lyrics:

    “We’ve been through some things together, with trunks of memories still to come.
    We found things to do in stormy weather. Long may you run.”

    On the lighter side, (sorry) I’ve got to specifically mention my favorite comedic line from the ceremony (sorry). During Catherine O’Hara’s riff about how Canadians are very apologettic, I loved the cartoon of the Canadian on the podium accepting a Gold medal and saying:
    “I’m sorry. I’ll have it bronzed.” I loved it!

    Thank-you again Andrea for your wonderful posts and perspectives. Through your efforts many of us have had a more rich experience during these games.
    Earl (the foosball guy)

  10. Bob permalink
    March 1, 2010 11:42 pm

    I think these Games made us all proud to be Canadian … I think they have changed this country forever.
    And I would like also to thank you Andrea for all your posts.
    Check out the Paralympics … the prices are very reasonable. Let’s keep the feeling alive!

  11. Jo-Anne permalink
    March 3, 2010 10:23 pm

    These were the best games ever. 14 GOLD medals – what a great response from our athletes. They make us proud. And what emotion to be involved in the closing ceremonies!! Made me feel like the luckiest person in the world. And the sites & sounds of Vancouver after the Gold medal win, WOW. Thanks for the memories Andrea, you’ve made this whole experience so special-I’m sure you have no idea how many lives you have touched over the past 210+ days. Waiting patiently for the Paralympics Games now and more great reading.

  12. Sarah permalink
    January 22, 2011 11:39 pm

    What a fantastic ‘finale’ post you have here. I laughed at your pictures on your way to the closing ceremony. Patriotic much? Hahah.
    You asked where we were when the point was scored in the hockey. I had never watched an ice hockey game in my life, but I had to make sure I watched the Canadian games at this olympics and cheer. I was surprised at the dexterity of these guys, the padding and uniforms and the sheer bulk of the teams is misleading, because this tiny puck is so skillfully played below it all! I though the floor would be larger, the puck bigger etc so to see it in play was sort of fascinating! No wonder it’s so bloody hard to get it in the net, with such a packed little battleground!
    I was on the couch, being vocal and maybe squeezing the cat too hard when it went into overtime. Could not believe it! I could barely watch the minutes before the point, I don’t know how you did it! And it all happened so fast! I didn’t even see it and know who won until I saw the team in one big red pile of happy over to the side.
    I wonder if they released the DVD. Pfft what am I thinking, of course they would have.
    Again, thanks for such and awesome post!

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  1. 12 days to the Paralympics – Peace and melancholy in Vancouver… « 2010VanFan

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