I have Olympic Fever. I admit it. Whether it is the Canadian spirit that I have never previously witnessed on such a mass scale, the amazing feeling of the party-like atmosphere on our streets or watching an athletic event with spectators from around the world, all showing their team colours and national pride as they cheer their athletes on—these games have truly captured me.
At Thunderbird Stadium, the Swiss were capped in Swiss flags and ringing cow bells to cheer their women’s hockey team on as they took on Team Canada. The Richmond Oval was a sea of orange (and no matter if the fans were young or old, the orange attire was wild!) as the Dutch dominated the cheering during the women’s 500m Long Track. Of course, the Koreans, Japanese, Germans and Chinese fans also came in groups to the Oval, waving flags and cheering loudly, and it was this incredible cultural mix that made the event so much fun.
The Victory Ceremonies last week were also colourful. Among medal presentations for Canadians Christine Nesbitt and Marianne St Gelais and Americans Shani Davis and Shawn White, the Norwegians won Gold in men’s 20km and women’s 15km Biathlon in Whistler, and while their medals were announced, Norwegian flags were everywhere.
Canada Hockey Place was equally divided during Czechs vs Latvians men’s hockey game. There were not just flags and shirts to show support, but full body (and face) paint in red, white and blue or burgundy and white. Latvian fans cheered “Ja, Ja, Latvijia” loudly. The Czechs, victorious, matched the cheering, which spilled onto the streets after the game. Women’s semi-finals hockey between the USA and Sweden was the same: the rink was divided between the distinctive yellow and blue Swedish colours and the red, white and blue stars and stripes.
Whether they live there currently or just have roots in these countries, everyone is proudly supporting the world’s best and creating an international flavour that this city has rarely seen. It is an amazing, fun and light-hearted introduction to international culture for our kids. You are sure to see fans from countries such as Finland, Belarus and Russia and many more proudly wearing and waving colours of the world’s flags throughout the city.