The legacy of the 1988 Olympic Games can be felt all over Calgary. From Olympic Plaza, to the Olympic Oval, to the lighting of the Calgary Tower for special events, to the ski jump tower and ice track at Canada Olympic Park, a piece of that spirit from nearly 25 years ago is all over the city.My son learned to skate at the oval. It was like a religious experience every time we entered. I got that same sort of reverential chill that you can feel when you enter a holy place. As my son was learning to skate in the centre, teams from around the world were practicing on the outside.
If you closed your eyes and you could see Koss, Blair, Hughes, and Lemay Doan on the ice just as easily as the current generation.
6 blocks from my house is the top of Canada Olympic Park. I see that 90m ski jump tower everyday when I pull out of the subdivision. The waving of the huge Canadian flag tells me when a chinook is coming in to warm us up. The top of the luge, skeleton, and bobsleigh run is just on the other side of the tower.
It’s a pretty remarkable thing, that ice track.
Just months after watching Jon Montgomery win gold on tv, we were standing beside him in the starting hut as he was about to sail face first down the Calgary course.
You see, while there’s layers of security at an Olympic Games, the World Cup circuit is a little more lax.
To get to the viewing stands, you have to walk through the starting area. You can shake hands with Pierre Leuders, get up close with the sleds, and, if you take a wrong turn, walk right onto the top of the ice chute.
This weekend is a Bobsleigh World Cup event at COP and we patted Kaillie Humphries on the back and gave her a cheer as she did warm up jogs on the sidewalk outside the starting hut. We cheered and screamed as each pair pushed their huge sled down the top of the course.
The Olympics only come every 4 years, but the athletes are still training, and competing in between. To live in an Olympic city means supporting the athletes each year as they come through and hone their skills to peak when their moment arrives.
To live in an Olympic city is magical.