Stephen Brunt Olympic Essay 2012 Jeep

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    Stephen Brunt, a columnist for the Globe and Mail, put together a remarkable video essay about the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. [Update] At the time this post was published, the video couldn’t be embedded but in the months since, it has appeared on YouTube:

    Brunt also penned this article about Vancouver 2010, which tugs equally at one’s heartstrings:

    “… the show got off to an unequivocally awful start. Hours before the cauldron was lit, a luger was killed during a practice run, raising questions about the safety of the state-of-the-art track built specifically for these Olympics. A technical glitch marred the climactic moment of the Opening Ceremony, and freakishly warm weather threatened to melt the Cypress Mountain venue, forcing cancellations and eventually mass ticket refunds. The much-hyped Canadian hope for a home gold medal fell short on the opening day of competition, and the opportunistic overseas press corps focused in on every glitch, pronouncing the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics a failure and an embarrassment to the host country even before they had really begun.

    It would have been no surprise in those circumstances for the country to curl up in the fetal position, to experience a great national cringe: We weren’t good enough; in the big moment, we hadn’t come through; we weren’t up to the task; we should never have become involved (or spent the money) in the first place.

    What happened instead were the streets of Vancouver filling with huge crowds, young, pan-ethnic, the very image of the place, decked out in national colours, patriotic gear the fashion statement of the moment, and that became the story. From across the country came reports of other gatherings, more modest naturally, and then the first television numbers, showing that unprecedented numbers of Canadians were tuning in…

    …Apparently, it wasn’t all about flawless execution and it wasn’t all about winning medals and it wasn’t even all about sport. It was about providing an opportunity, a platform, an excuse, to let loose pent-up feelings of national pride, to express, without apology, with a spirit of joy, a national identity, hitting emotional notes beyond the usual touchstones of climate and geography, of politeness, tolerance, universal health care and hockey.”

    The Vancouver 2010 Games were one of the highlights of my life, as a local, as a blogger, and as a spectator. I’m sure we’ll be talking about them for years to come. See you at Sochi 2014!

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