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The Olympics are over, and many of us Canadians are experiencing a serious post-Olympic hangover -- it was such a high, after all, and it's hard now to adjust back to "normalcy" -- but there is no denying that the Vancouver Winter Games was a deeply meaningful event for this country. Whether there is a long-term effect remains to be seen, but I do think the Olympics tapped our deep reservoir of rarely seen national pride in a way that few events ever have, if any at all to this degree. It felt good to win, but it also felt good to display ourselves, and our wonderful country, to the world.
Here's what I wrote Sunday night, when it was all over:
It's been a wonderful two-plus weeks, with some wonderful moments. When we won the hockey gold today, I jumped off the couch and celebrated like I rarely do for anything. I can't remember ever being that excited for a sporting event. Maybe when the Steelers won the Super Bowl last year, but not even that matched today. That win was the highlight, along with the men's curling win, but I found myself cheering on my fellow Canadians -- and genuinely appreciating the athletes from all the countries -- frequently. Whatever it was -- short-track speedskating or skeleton, even figure staking -- I was there, and I was united with the rest of Canada, urging our men and women on.
It's hard to believe, actually, that the Olympics could mean this much to me, or to Canadians generally, but they did, and now they're over, and hopefully some of that togetherness will persist.
There's a reason this is the greatest country in the world. And it was on full display these past couple of weeks.
No one put it better, though, than Stephen Brunt, our finest sportswriter and commentator (writing for The Globe and Mail and appearing regularly on radio and TV). This is a video essay he put together on what the Olympics meant to Canada. (It's introduced by Brian Williams, the main studio host for CTV.) It's brilliant, it's magnificent, it's beautiful, it's moving, and, as far as I'm concerned, it's right on. And, amazingly, it was done before our historic gold-medal hockey win on Sunday, the singular triumph that really brought this country together.
(Cross-posted from The Reaction.)