I’m an Olympic nut. I fall for the emotional stories of amateur athletes rising on one specific day every four years to achieve their goals and inspire a nation. Ever since I watched my high school wrestling coach compete in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, I’ve been hooked.
The year before we had watched short track and long track speed skating events and witnessed the best in the world get ready for the games. We were ready and excited.
Then, in mid 2009, I lost my job. I landed on my feet a few months later in another Olympic city, Calgary. We moved on February 5, just days before the start of the games. To be a resident of Vancouver for 30+ years and then move away so close was something deeply saddening.
After I watched the opening ceremony from Calgary, saw the shots of the people in the streets and said to my wife “That’s it. We’re going.”
We booked last minute tickets and spent nearly $1500 to be in Vancouver for a mere 26 hours on the middle weekend of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. It was one of those tv commercial moments, where we couldn’t afford not to go.
We met Alex Bilodeau, watched Canada play Switzerland on the side of Eaton Centre and wandered Robson Street for hours. We waited in line for the Olympic Torch and soaked up the spirit.
It was only 26 hours, but it was the time of our lives.