Chasing the Olympic dream
By Carolynn Boomer
PacificSport Interior BC
SPECIAL TO KAMLOOPS THIS WEEK
With the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympics less than a month away, I find it hard to believe it is almost upon us.
It was July 2, 2003 when I attended GM Place, where a packed house waited to hear International Olympic Committee president Jacque Rogge make the official announcement of who would win the rights to host the 2010 Games.
When Vancouver was announced over Korea, it was sheer bedlam of excitement.
Even before the announcement, I felt huge pride, with Canadians young and old coming together in red and white, baring the Maple Leaf, sharing mutual respect and cheering loud and proud.
It seems like we’ve all been living 2010 for many years since that day in 2003.
It is exciting that it is finally here and I am inspired every day by athletes in our community at all levels who have the dream of being the best they can be — many of whom I have had the pleasure of working with on a day-to-day basis.
Olympians like Dylan Armstrong, a Westsyde grad who throws shot put, Olympic hammer thrower Sultana Frizell and Olympic mountain biker Catharine Pendrel — all are right here in our own backyard, training twice a day, 365 days a year.
Many others are chasing their Olympic dream, such as national team athletes like speedskater Jessica Hewitt, alpine skier Eli Terwiel and hammer throwers Jenn Joyce, Crystal Smith and Megann VanderVliet Rodhe.
These are just a few of the many people training with an internal fire deep within them to push beyond belief.
Don’t forget the many coaches who continually give so much of themselves — from community to national levels.
They are building the next generation, turning kids onto sport, keeping them physically active and allowing them to realize they can excel at any level.
I salute the many coaches that make sacrifices every day for what they love to do. Johnny Critchon, who coaches the Canadian National Men’s Speed Skiing Team, is one name that comes to mind.
The Kamloops native began coaching young skiers in the Sun Peaks Alpine Club and advanced to the national team.
Once you are in the big leagues, more out-of-town commitments arise. With his wife, Nicole, and a one-year-old at home, Critchon goes above and beyond every day.
When you see the world watching, be proud to see the effort and the highs and lows — and know those dreams started at a very young age for many of our athletes.
The Olympics are the most watched event in the world and the Olympic Rings the most recognized logo on earth.
Let’s rock the world with Canadian pride!