Tomorrow night Vancouver's flame goes out.
To put it dramatically.
But it's true! I can't believe how fast these 16 days have gone. I can't believe how fast these past few years have gone actually. It seems like just yesterday when the announcement was made. Wait, nevermind. They've been working on that Sea to Sky Highway and the Canada Line forever. God, all that work for SIXTEEN days that have gone by in a blink!
I'm not sure what I expected these past two weeks to be like, but they definitely have exceeded my expectations. Does that make sense?
At first, I didn't think this city was really that busy. "Like Midtown on a Monday" I told the Engineer. Which is pretty much what it's like: Time's Square on Robson Street. A New York Times journalist went so far as to say "Vancouver is Manhattan with mountains".
It is busy. I love keeping my window open at night so I can listen to the screaming drunks shouting about how great Canada is. I love walking down Robson through the sea of red. I love the fact that on every corner, at every time of day, people with flags from all over the world are smiling and happy.
It's official: I am going to miss Vancouver 2010.
What is Vancouver without the 2010 behind it? We've been working up to these 16 days for 7 years. What's going to happen on Monday?
We go back to normal?
The biggest story right now in Canada is how these Olympics have changed our nation. Michael Brunt says it best in this video. They started out tragically. Then there were some glitches and failures. But it never dampened the Canadian spirit.
Across this country, 27 million citizens tuned in for the opening ceremonies. 21 million for the Canada/US game #1. Over 3 million Canadians are wearing those coveted red mittens complete with maple leaf palms. Everyone has worn red and white everyday. We've cried, we've shouted, we've hugged, we've celebrated, and, most significantly, we've shown the world who we truly are.
We're nice, polite, loving, supporting, grateful, enthusiastic, ambitious, determined. We're proud.
One of our athletes lost her mother two days before her skate. The whole nation felt her pain and cried when she did. The whole nation wishes Virtue and Moir would fall in love already and make good-looking skating babies. The whole nation walked through Whistler with Jon Montgomery. The whole nation was just as proud as Frederick when Alexandre became the first Canadian to win gold on our own soil. The whole nation is going to be sitting on the edge of their seats tomorrow for the biggest game in Hockey history (is that possible?). (Note: I capitalized Hockey).
We may have been shy about it at first, or apologized for having such an ambitious program called 'Own the Podium" (umm, every country has that BTW), but as of tonight, we have made Olympic history. We now have earned the most gold medal's this Winter Games, we've earned the most a host city has ever earned, and we broke our own record. We might even break another record tomorrow.
Tonight I saw the Indian luge athlete telling the Queen Elizabeth theatre (full of the Vancouver Punjab community who had banded together to pay for the Indian athlete's uniforms when they couldn't afford them) how lucky we were to live in a country where it is okay to be both Punjab and Canadian. Where everybody respects everybody.
That's what we're showing the world.
I always believed we were the best nation in the world.
Do you believe?