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Crispin Lipscomb - Memories of Torino

Crispin Lipscomb is originally from the Ottawa area, but lives full time in Whistler. He has been on the Canadian Men's National Snowboarding Team since 2002

Crispin Lipscomb is airborne on his way to win the men's Snowboard Halfpipe race at the World cup finals in Valmalenco , Italy. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

I had so many amazing experiences leading up to, during and following the Winter Games, but the one memory that stands out the most for me is the Opening Ceremony held in the Torino Olympic Stadium.

I was staying in a satellite village about an hour away from the Torino city with the Snowboarders, Freestyle skiers and the Biathlon Athletes. As the sun set we all met in the courtyard and piled onto 20 busses and headed off in a police-led convoy to Torino.

We arrived at the staging area in the city where all the athletes and nations were being herded and organized by an army of Torino 2006 staff. This proved very hard as every athlete, myself included, was franticly trading their country’s pins and meeting other excited athletes.

It turns out that the Canadian pins were some of the most prestigious and valuable on the trader’s market. I could not believe the size of Team Canada whose white and red jackets and hats filled almost a quarter of the staging area’s seats.

But the true excitement started as we were led towards the Olympic Stadium. All the Nations were to enter the Stadium in alphabetical order, putting us, Team Canada, quite far up front.

I won’t forget the deafening roar of the crowd as the announcer called “Team Canada” and we started our walk around the whole stadium.

I have never been so proud to be Canadian as right then, walking with teammates, coaches and other all the legendary Athletes, as we were about to represent our country.

Canadian snowboarder Crispin Lipscomb finished 11th in the half-pipe at the 2006 Torino Olympics. (Canadian Press)

As we settled into our sitting spot at the center of the stadium we all took to our phones to call home. The Halfpipe team had all stuck together and we were sitting along an outer edge and we made contact with the CBC cameraman.

We scrambled over one another to be on CBC TV back home and started to call our parents to confirm whether or not we were on camera.

Vividly I remember in the stadium seats were groups of red and white fans with posters, flags and banners- other Canadians who had come from all around the world to cheer us on.

It was this support from the fans that I remember the most of the Opening Ceremonies. The hosting Italians cheered so loudly for all the nations’ athletes and I truly look forward to Canada’s chance to return the favor as host of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

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