Surely we hope that Canadian athletes can hit the target of "Own the Podium" and more than $120 million invested, in order to win the medal tally at the Vancouver/Whistler Olympics. Obviously the gold medal that many supporters in this country covet most is in the capable hands of the men’s hockey team. For many observers capturing that gold medal is all that really matters. Given our nation’s glorious history in and obsession with the game of hockey you can understand why.
Maybe, however, there's more to the equation than winning hockey gold that will make 2010 resonate with the vast majority of Canadians and for generations yet to come.
Perhaps in a complex and rich country navigating troubled global waters we should, as hosts, be striving to make the No. 1 priority the deliverance of peaceful and safe Games for the tens of thousands of athletes, officials and visitors to our shores. The legacy of tolerance and hospitality that will emerge from Vancouver/Whistler 2010 is the one that matters most and it will reinforce the Canadian hallmark of being a great place to live and celebrate.
We should also seize the chance to admire the tremendous sporting talent that exists in our country and to recognize the wondrous gifts of the athletes who play, not only professional hockey, but other games as well.
The speedskaters, skiers and sliders who will perform at the Olympics and Paralympics are bound to amaze and inspire all of us who have the opportunity to see them compete close at hand. The potential of Canadian youth is vast and is reflected in these men and women who pursue excellence in virtual anonymity most of their competitive lives.
Finally, Canadians should take this opportunity to cement their allegiance to the benefits of high-performance sport.
The competition that is about to unfold in British Columbia will surely be majestic and will involve the healthiest and most capable ambassadors representing diverse countries from the four corners of the World. For the most part, they are model citizens. The lesson we should take to heart is that these athletes are not superhuman but instead ordinary people who are capable of extraordinary things.
That they are Olympians is a testament not only to their instinctual talent but also to their commitment to hard work and sacrifice.
So, as we Canadians embark on the voyage of this Olympic year, perhaps we should all resolve to appreciate the Games for what they truly are.
The best we can hope for is a sporting event doubling as a peaceful celebration gathering the youth of the world in a friendly nation where honest competition will prevail.
If all that comes to pass in Vancouver/Whistler, we have a chance to make it a perfect 2010.
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