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The Olympics are my favourite time of year. Whether it is summer or winter I find myself glued to the TV for two weeks straight. While I am a huge sports fan, my love for the Olympics comes from the fact that it is so much bigger than ordinary sports. The Olympics not only showcases athletes but the ups and downs of their personal training journeys. From underdogs to rivalries to podium upsets, the Olympics is full of emotions.

The first Olympics that I remember watching was the Vancouver 2010 Winter games. I was nine years old at the time and I went crazy for the Games. I grabbed a poster board and drew out a medal chart which I posted next to the TV and updated every morning before school. I wore my Team Canada mittens every day as I waited and waited, for us to win our first gold medal on home soil. The night that Alexandre Bilodeau won the gold medal for Canada in men’s moguls, I was ecstatic, to say the least. The night that we won, he stood at the bottom of the hill and dedicated the medal to his older brother Frederic, who was born with Cerebral Palsy. This dedication reinforced to me that the games are about so much more than medals; they are about celebrating the individual athletes and everything it takes to get to that level of elite sport.

That same Olympics, Joannie Rochette, a Canadian figure skater, brought me to tears as she was awarded the bronze medal for women’s free skate. Just two days before Joannie was set to compete, her mom passed away from a heart attack. Considering this horrible news, Rochette still chose to compete with the entire nation supporting her. She had a personal best skate, which landed her the bronze medal, as well as the honour of carrying the Canadian flag at the closing ceremonies.

This past summer at the Tokyo games, American swimmer Caeleb Dressel gave his medal to teammate Brooks Curray, who swam the preliminary round of the 4×100 relay in place of Dressel. Dressel was the favourite to win many of his events and to lighten his load, Curray offered to swim the preliminary event with the intention of Dressel swimming in the finals. While this is a common tactic, Dressel felt it should not go unrecognized which led to him tossing his gold medal up into the stands, where teammate Brooks Curray sat cheering him on in the finals.

In just a few days the Beijing 2022 Winter games will begin, bringing their own stories of triumph and heartbreak. American Emily Sweeney will be competing in luge after a devastating crash in her final run of 2018 games, breaking her neck and back. After making an incredible recovery Sweeney hopes to not only prove her career isn’t over but also land a spot on the podium.

Another luger, Saba Kumaritashvili of Georgia, will make his Olympic debut, 12 years after his cousin Nodar Kumaritashvili, died in a training accident just days before the Vancouver Olympics. The crash and death of Nodar changed the luge community forever and Saba’s Olympic debut will be in honour of his late cousin.

Canadian ice dancers Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier are hopeful they will reach the podium in their second Olympics as a pair. Having been Canada’s fourth ranked team consistently, they have missed out on the chance to compete at the Olympics until recently. Now, Canada’s top ranked ice dancing pair, the two are not only medal hopefuls, but medal contenders. I truly cannot wait for the Olympics to start and to watch the athletes compete at the highest level of sport. While I hope Canada brings home a lot of medals, I am looking forward to the stories of celebration and comeback just as much if not more.

Emma Soden

Wilfrid Laurier '22

Emma is a 4th year English student at Wilfrid Laurier University with minors in Global Studies and Criminology. She is passionate about reading, writing and fitness. She hopes to pursue a career in journalism with a focus on sports.
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