RICK MACDONNELL, SnowSeekers Inc.
What a difference a day makes. Twenty-four hours ago, I was camped out on my living room couch in pajamas, sporting only one sock and a three-day puberty beard, watching the Olympics on CBC and TSN like everybody else.
Today, I rubbed elbows with Jeff Blair (one of this country's most prolific sports journalists), had breakfast with Otto Tschudi (a two-time Olympian and the youngest World Cup skier in Norway's history), and interviewed Melissa Hollingsworth just days after one of the most emotional moments in Canadian Olympic history.
Seeing the events and the venues on television was one thing – experiencing them live was something else entirely. There is a vitality to Vancouver and Whistler that simply can't be felt through a television screen. Every person, whether Canadian, American, Austrian, Chinese, or what have you, has embraced the Olympic community in a profoundly beautiful way. There is an ever-present sense of hope here.
Having never been to the West Coast before, I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of Vancouver. I've heard it said before that Vancouver is one of the world's undiscovered treasures. After flying in last night and spending a few hours travelling around the city, I wholeheartedly agree.
It's certainly the most beautiful city I've ever been to, and I've lived in nearly every region of this country.
Now that I'm in Whistler, where I'll spend the rest of my time at the Games, I can't wait to experience everything that my colleagues have annoyingly bragged about for the last week. If the next seven days are like the last eight hours, this is shaping up to be an experience of a lifetime.
I've realized that's what the Olympics are all about: creating memories that will last the rest of a lifetime, no matter if that person is an athlete or a spectator. These are moments that most of us will never forget.
The significance of each and every event is overwhelming, which is why I'm so amazed by the poise and willpower of these athletes amidst such tremendous pressure.
To paraphrase Melissa Hollingsworth, many of them have been thinking and training for 15 years (or more) for a single moment of greatness.
One shot. One opportunity. The remainder of their lives will be drastically effected by a single movement, one that leads to a monumental achievement or a tragic failure.
My chest tightens up just thinking about it. I can't even imagine what it feels like to actually do it, and succeed.
These are extraordinary human beings. I feel incredibly fortunate to be here and see it for myself. I only hope that through what you're seeing on television, and what you're reading from SnowSeekers, brings you closer to realizing it yourself.
Stay tuned to www.snowseekers.ca/olympicnews for daily blogs, videos and more throughout the Olympics.
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