Bienvenue Vancouver. I love it.
There is something about the Olympics that makes my heart happy. I love it. I have always loved it. It is such a celebration of patriotism and world togetherness it gives me goosebumps.
When else are all of the world's finest athletes in one place to celebrate their talent and strive for the ultimate? A gold medal. They aren't the highest paid ones. Most of them don't boast huge sponsorships or endorsements. They don't have deals with Pepsi or Nike. They have devoted their lives for this one moment. For this one challenge. They have sacrificed time with their families, holidays, friendships, some things most of us take for granted like a high school prom or your college graduation. For this moment. For the honor of wearing their country's flag and representing not a team, or a franchise but their country. The place they came from. Some wear the flag of countries where life is more different and difficult than most of us know or could ever imagine. They are heroes in their homeland.
I don't know who's on the US hockey team, mens or womens. I can't tell you the names of the curling stars. It doesn't matter. I love the stories. Of triumph, heartbreak, and I love tearing up when you see an athlete stand on that podium and hear their country's national anthem. Pride.
We went to the Games in 1996 in Atlanta. We saw some basketball (the 'dream team' being the exception to the rule above about endorsements and large paychecks), and some track. We saw Michael Johnson set the world record in the 100 meter dash (which I'm pretty sure Usain Bolt blew away in Beijing). It was awesome. I even had an Olympic themed Swatch Watch (that's right, I said it). I'm pretty sure I'd die and go to heaven if we could figure out how to go to London in 2012.
There is something about Bob Costas, Matt Lauer, and company telling stories of 'what it took to get here'.
I love the pride I see shining in Vancouver tonight. Oh, Canada. Here's to you tonight.
A few facts I learned tonight that I find facsinating:
There are more people living in California than in Canada.
90 % of Canadians live on the Canada- America border.
There are places in Canada where temperatures as low as 81 below have been recorded.
Canadians took in more than 200 American flights of people on September 11. Fed them, took care of them, when our country was hemorrhaging.
So here's to the world's finest athletes who have sacrificed, and worked harder than any of us can imagine for this one moment. Here's to dreams coming true. Here's to athletes becoming heroes. Here's to Bob Costas and Tom Brokaw and all of NBC's finest telling the stories only they can tell. Here's to two weeks of phenomenal television. Here's to a South American country winning a medal in the Winter Games for the first time ever. And on a slightly more catty note, here's to Ralph Lauren's fabulous designs for the American gear.
The Best part? The Azerbaijan's pants (google it if you didn't see them, it's a country apparently in Europe that borders Georgia, Russia, Iran and Armenia), Bermuda's shorts, curling, and pride.