Something as grandiose as the Olympics, on both a commercial and a human scale, is difficult to grasp – especially when it sweeps through your very own city in a blur of electricity and noise. Living in Vancouver, BC during these recently past 2010 Winter Olympic games, there is a lot I observed about this event that I found unsettling and also, much I enjoyed. But underneath its unfathomable, colossal proportions – at the core of athletic competition – there remains something inspiring for all: human emotions, naked as the day they were first felt.
“Exquisite victory, agonizing defeat, disappointment, regret, grief, shame, sorrow and love, everything a human being can feel, is right there in front of you on your television set. Who cannot respond? It is irresistible”. Globe & Mail; March 2010; Blatchford, C.
The personalities of the broadcasting networks for the Olympics lay the groundwork for the general public to connect to these athletes through their stories. And it is through these stories that we are able to associate and root for the once “stranger” in a sport that may be completely foreign to us or may have never interested us in the slightest before. We connect to the inspiring journey of the human spirit in a focused, pin point viewing enveloped in the intensity of competitive sport and the celebration of one of the largest events in the world that only comes around once every four years. The journey of sacrifice, joy, sorrow and love is on in full display and it is compelling.
I am truly thankful that I was in Vancouver during this momentous occasion. There were many struggles in putting on these games, from the poor weather conditions at Cypress, to the death of luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, to the emotional and physical struggles of the athletes themselves, but despite all of this, one thing remains brilliantly obvious and I think John Furlong, Chief Executive Officer for the Vancouver Organizing Committee of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, distilled it best: “No force can sustain itself against the full thrust of a determined human heart”.