Moved by montages and props for Hungary: Checkup callers reflect on Pyeongchang 2018

As the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang came to a close, guest host Suhana Meharchand asked Canadians for the best and worst moments from this year’s games.
Team Canada walks in the Parade of Athletes during the closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Pyeongchang, South Korea on Sunday. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

by Jason Vermes

For many, the highlight of this year's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, will be Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir's gold-medal winning Moulin Rouge performance.

Others might look back on Sebastien Toutant taking home the gold in big air, a new Olympic sport for 2018.

But for one Cross Country Checkup caller, the highlights were the highlights.

"I realized today that I'm a huge fan of montages," Toronto's Justin Landry told Checkup guest host Suhana Meharchand. "It's one of my favourite parts of the Olympics."

"You are reminded of how many heartbreaking, soul-lifting, life-altering, best-and-worst moments there are for these athletes, their families, their friends and their hometowns," he said.

On Sunday, Checkup asked Canadians for their best and worst moments from the games.

Many took place on the ice.

Sebastian Toutant takes a selfie with silver medallist Kyle Mack, left, and bronze medallist Billy Morgan. (Kevin Light/CBC Sports)

Hockey misses

Along with many other Canadians, Landry was wide awake early in the morning as the U.S. and Canadian women's hockey teams faced off. Despite Canada's second place finish, Landry looks back on the game fondly.

"As a dad and as a hockey fan, being okay with losing was almost like a personal best moment for me," he said. "Let's face it: staying up that late to watch hockey, it can be disappointing if you don't come out on the winning end."

But caller Nicholas Abbott told Checkup that what happened after that game disappointed him.

"I really didn't like the silver medallist Jocelyn [Larocque] taking off her medal ... like, come on man! You made it to the Olympics," he told Meharchand.

Jocelyne Larocque of Canada, third from left, holds her silver medal after losing to the United States in the women's gold medal hockey game on Feb. 22. (Matt Slocum/The Associated Press)

Larocque was criticized for removing her silver medal during the medal ceremony for the women's hockey finals. She later apologized in a statement saying, "I was disappointed with the outcome of the game and my emotions got the better of me."

Abbott was similarly frustrated by the negative public response to Canada's men's hockey team winning bronze in a semifinal game against the Czech Republic. CBC Sports' Tim Wharnsby said it was an exciting result for the team who lost to Germany the day before.

"They make movies about stuff like that!" Abbott said.

Everyone loves an underdog

But Canadians weren't the only athletes Checkup callers had their eyes on.

Ryan Vickers calling from Newmarket, Ont., is an self-professed Olympic die-hard. His highlight was the success of another country's athletes.

"The thing that stands out for me is the Hungarian men winning the short-track speed skating relay," Vickers said.

"It's their first medal in 38 years and it was the gold."

Gold medalists Shaoang Liu, Shaolin Sandor Liu, Viktor Knoch and Csaba Burjan of Hungary celebrate during the medal ceremony for short-track speed skating, men's 5,000m relay. (Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Brothers Sandor Liu Shaolin and Shaoang Liu raced alongside Viktor Knoch and Csaba Burjan in a match again Canada, China and South Korea. With only two laps remaining, the Hungarian pair sped past Canada's Samuel Girard and Charles Hamelin to set a new Olympic record.

Hungary's last stand on the podium was in 1980. Figure skaters Krisztina Regöczy and András Sallay won silver in ice dancing at Lake Placid.

Speaking to reporters after the race, Hungary's Viktor Knoch said, "We felt a lot of pressure, if I have to be honest, from the whole country ... It was our last chance to get a medal for our federation, our country, and it's unbelievable that it's a gold."

For Vickers, wins like this are one of the best parts of the games.

"The Olympics should be about rising above and doing more than you ever thought you could have," he said.

Inspiring moments

Ultimately, for another caller, it's not about the events or the medals — it's the athletes' legacies that stand out.

Canadian short-track speed skater Kim Boutin leads Team Canada into the Olympic stadium during the closing ceremonies. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Louise Wallace-Richmond in Salmon Arm, B.C., hopes that Olympians will serve as an inspiration to young people.

"My boys are both very keen downhill skiers and they had an opportunity to meet Ross Rebagliati earlier this year," Wallace-Richmond said. "As an Olympic medallist who overcame a lot of challenges, they were so inspired by him."

She hopes that inspiring moments don't end with the closing ceremony.

"It's really just the beginning of the next games for the next athletes," she said.

"They will live their whole life being examples to all of us of what happens when you really commit to something that you love."

To hear our full episode on the Olympic Games, download our podcast or listen here.