RICK MACDONNELL, SnowSeekers Inc.
Even though they were a few hours away from the Closing Ceremonies in Vancouver, the people of Whistler were as awash in the glow of victory as any of their provincial neighbours last night.
Every screen in the Village – both big and small – was tuned in to see Canada's best deliver a send-off to the world. Whistler's Village Square was jam packed with hundreds of excited onlookers as they watched the Closing Ceremonies on the big screen behind the Whistler Live! stage.
"We're not there (Vancouver), but we are at the same time," said Mark Roberts of Oshawa, Ontario. "With the crowd here, the big screen, it's almost better in some ways because you get the feeling of the crowd, but the intimacy of watching the performers on this massive screen. It's quite the party."
A party is the best I could describe it.
Along with the crowd standing in Village Square, every patio around was armed to the teeth with revelers. The Amersterdam, Citta's, and La Bocca all provided a great place to catch the action while enjoying some dinner and drinks.
There was a considerable amount of nostalgia on display last night. People were already looking back on the Games as if they happened two years ago, and a couple of hours.
"It was an amazing, amazing experience," said Patrice Henry of Gatineua, Quebec. "My life is now divided into two parts, before and after the 2010 Olympics. I'm not sure if I'll ever see anything like this for the rest of my life."
And while most were already longing to have the last two weeks back, there were some who were only looking toward the future. Slava Mischenko of Kiev, Ukraine, decked out in a 2014 Sochi jacket, has already started counting down the days until the next Winter Olympics.
"I'm not from Sochi, but I'm excited for them," Mischenko said. "I can't wait to be there in 2014 when Russia does what Canada did in these games."
After stopping to ponder for a few seconds, he continued. "Well, maybe not exactly what Canada did, but hopefully close. Fourteen medals is a lot!"
The crowd was full of Canadians from coast to coast, along with visitors from dozens of countries around the world.
For two weeks we laughed together and cheered together, sang and even cried together. For two weeks this was Whistler, one big happy international family.
Driving away from Whistler this morning, we were all sad to see it go. But, when you think about it, 2014's only four years away.
Stay tuned to www.snowseekers.ca/olympicnews for daily blogs, videos and more throughout the Olympics.
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