Well! It came, it made a big splash and now it's moving on to Russia. The beast that is the Olympics hit us hard and now we wander around Whistler in a daze as we marvel at how quickly a beast that size can disappear after we watched its laborious approach for seven long years.
The most common analogy is that of the "Olympic hangover" and it truly does look like the day after a big party, as semi-confused faces wander around now-vacant stages in the midst of deconstruction, wondering what to do with themselves now that the fabled beast known as "2010" has come and gone.
With the possible exception of my buddy, Ken, nobody I've seen looks all that nauseous, but there is a palpable feeling of "now what?" clouding the atmosphere; fond reminiscence blended with an unseen future.
I suppose the analogy also fits in well with the most common protest about how the Olympics are "just" a two week celebration. My question to those protesters is: how is a celebration of peace, unity and the pursuit of excellence a bad thing? These are all intangible concepts, but do they truly lose any value because they can't be packaged and sold off a shelf?
Sure they cost a lot, but how much does it cost to inspire a nation or to remind a world that humans from different borders can compete without bloodshed?
We were reminded, no, we were taught, that Canadians can not only stand on the world stage with our heads held high but we can stand on the very top of the podium with the most gold medals ever won by any nation in the history of the Winter Olympics.
And one of the things I'm most proud of is the fact (belief?) that we managed to accomplish a successful Olympic Games while still maintaining our grace and our sportsmanship. We embraced all different corners of our nation in order to welcome the world into our home, and we welcomed them with open arms and bigger smiles. It may sound rather "un-Canadian" of me, but I am quite proud of how we showed off to the world for the past two weeks.
There are many legacies that are left behind by these Olympics/Paralympics, such as new housing, new athletic facilities and new infrastructure, but I hope the most lasting legacy we see all through Canada is the belief that seeking excellence is a good thing, and that we should no longer be content to just show up, while whining about how arrogant those Americans are for always trying to win everything.