The first time I ever knew of the existence of the Olympic Games was in 2010, when, coincidentally, they were held on home soil – specifically, Vancouver, British Columbia.
I was twelve then, and had no clue what all the excitement was about when I heard that the torch would be passing through different parts of Canada. All the same, I still remember the day the torch passed through my neighbourhood.
It was a cold, bone-chilling morning, and each breath we took could be seen as we trudged out through the tiny mounds of snow. The roads were quite clear, not buried under sleet or slippery from ice. The sky was slowly brightening, for long before school began, my cousins, aunt, sister and I left our homes to stand outside on the street, waiting for the huge bus (Was it a Coca-Cola one?) that would bring the Olympic torch.
I can’t honestly say I knew what exactly we were there for. All I knew was that this was momentous, that this was special, and so as the man with the torch came forward, and as he brought the torch near to us, I felt this minuscule burst of excitement surge through me. As I touched the torch, I had felt that excitement bubbling. Still, I did not know the extent of the significance of this event.
I do not remember all the various events that happened as the Vancouver Olympic Games began and finished. What I do remember vaguely, however, is coming home from school during the week, and watching skiing or snowboarding or figure skating.
There are two events, however, that I remember vividly. One was the pairs figure skating competition. I remember the stifling tension that I felt as Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir competed with Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White. I remember also the contentment I felt as our Canadian figure skaters took the gold. I am nothing if not competitive, even if I am not the one competing.
Even more so, I remember the final of men’s moguls freestyle skiing. Funnily enough, I do not recall the other mogul skiers. The one I do recall is Alex Bilodeau. Perhaps it is due to the fact that my cousins and I were fairly screaming at the TV screen when he did his final run. Or perhaps it is due to the fact that despite my lack of Olympic knowledge, I understood that this moment was huge for Canada. Either way, I can still visualize the moment in my mind’s eye when he made Canadian history as he won the first gold medal on home soil.
My obsession with the Olympic Games may have led many to believe me crazy. I like to think of it as passion. I am passionate about the Olympics, and I am proud to admit it.
Four years ago, watching the Olympic Games as they went on across the country ignited a strong feeling within me for the event in general, and the Canadian athletes in particular. It led me to impatiently anticipate the start of Sochi Olympics 2014.
I waited four years for two weeks of competition. And it didn’t disappoint.
Sure, there were several issues before the Games even began. The slopes were muddy, the buildings where people would stay were not completed, the washrooms were dirty. There were threats by several people. And let’s not forget the fact that this was Russia, and that Sochi was very near to a war-zone.
And yet despite all these scary potholes, the Games began.
They finished a little over a month ago, but I can still feel the overflowing excitement that I had felt. Any of my friends can attest to that.
My sleeping pattern was erratic, at best. I would go to bed for a couple of hours at a time, before waking up twice or thrice at night to watch some event. Others thought me even crazier (Why won’t you just record the events?) but I loved every second of it. Waking up in the middle of the night may have left me tired and sleep-deprived, but I would much rather watch it live than watch it after the event had already concluded. After all, recorded events do not provide you with the thrill, the anxiety, the nervousness, and the suspense that you can feel as you watch your country’s athletes compete for the gold.
I will have to wait four more years for the next Winter Olympics, but I can appreciate the continuation of a tradition that began when the Ancient Olympic Games were held in Olympia, Greece, to honour their gods.
Until then, I will be satisfied by watching the annual World Championships for a variety of sports, which, by the way, have already occurred and are still going on. And let’s not get me started on the 2014 FIFA World Cup.