Gold medals and Sochi memories

I wasn’t here to be a cheerleader for Canada or a friend to athletes. I was here to bring you their stories — the agony of defeat and the glory of victory. And I'm gonna miss that.

CBC Montreal's Sonali Karnick on women's hockey, Olympic glory and saying goodbye to new friends

I finally ran into my CBC Montreal colleague, Doug Gelevan! (CBC)

До свидания и спасибо (Goodbye and thank you)

I have tried not to get too schmaltzy in these blog entries (reader: Pfft!  Not very hard, you soft ball of emotional mush!), but I will have to get a little watery-eyed while summing up my time here.

Just finding out that CBC thought enough of my professional skills to send me to Sochi was unbelievable. I prepared, studied, trained, read, practised, studied again, learned a new language and packed to come here and do my best.  

And that’s exactly what I did.

I have no regrets about what I was able to do here.

I wasn’t here to be a cheerleader for Canada or a friend to athletes.

Watching the gold medal hockey game from my spot in the mixed zone at Iceberg Palace. (Sonali Karnick/CBC)

I was here to bring you their stories — the agony of defeat (and MY FEET, all that running between arenas and standing for hours in mixed zones, oy!) and the glory of victory.

I will miss covering dramatic moments and the privilege of speaking with an athlete about it (whether they wanted to or not).

I will miss watching a race or a performance in the arena or on a monitor, throwing predictions out of the window and the gasps of the media when something goes wrong or applause when an athlete gets it right.

I’ll miss the crews I worked with so closely and who were just the best at their jobs and the best people to with whom to spend time in a small space that is always too hot or too cold and always stressful.

I’ll miss instant replays of anything, anytime (I’m just saying, think of the possibilities for omelette flipping)!

'Canada watching all the time hockey'

Where was I for one of the best hockey games ever?

I was covering the ladies figure skating free skate at Iceberg Palace.

We had to pay close attention to the figure skating (we being me and the team from Radio-Canada), but we had one monitor on the game.

I’m sure I yelled out “penalty” at some point during Mao Asada’s performance. The other reporters must have been wondering what the heck was going on.  

American fans looked a little depressed, but I saw them getting hugs from Canadian fans and pats on the back.

Da, that’s how we do.Once anyone saw that we had our second screen tuned to the hockey game, they nodded in approval.  One volunteer even passed by and said, “Da, Canada watching all the time hockey. Men, lady, everyone.”

Bolshoi Dome was lit up with the final score when I walked across Olympic Park after the game.

Canadian flags were waving here and there from people who went to the game.

American fans looked a little depressed but I saw them getting hugs from Canadian fans and pats on the back from others who went to the game.

I wasn’t surprised at the calibre of play in this game.  

I go to CWHL games all the time in the city to watch the Montreal Stars.  

Caroline Ouellette, Canada’s captain, plays for that team.

go to the games because it’s good hockey and these women are fantastic role models in an age where there are some very poor role models that get a lot of attention.

It’s  $10 to see a game in the regular season and I always love company!

YOUR gold medal

I cannot thank everyone enough; friends, colleagues family, listeners, viewers and readers.

Your support was more than I could ever ask for.

I managed to get a picture with the Sochi polar bear. (CBC)
I felt like I was an athlete myself with all the messages of encouragement I received.

It was an absolute honour and a privilege and I hope I made you proud.

What you gave me is worth more than a medal but I give YOU a gold medal for being awesome anyway.

'Crazytown' and winding down

The next couple of days can best be described as “crazytown” with the rest of the events I have to cover (including another two-arena day), the men’s hockey final, closing ceremonies, trying to get out of this place at the same time as tens of thousands of people and I have to pack my suitcases again.

No biggie.  

I’m closing this Sochi Notebook.

À bientôt!

The Bolshoi Dome after Canada's golden game in women's hockey. (CBC)

About the Author

Sonali Karnick

CBC Montreal's Sonali Karnick will be in Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympics as a bilingual reporter for CBC and Radio Canada.