For me, it all started the year I was born. 1976 – Montreal hosted the Summer Olympic Games (I was born in St. Bruno) and even though the home team didn’t win one single Gold medal, there was a defining moment during those games.
Nadia Comaneci was the first gymnast to receive a perfect 10 in gymnastics, and she won 3 Gold medals. This inspired a whole generation of young girls to start training to be an Olympic gymnast. I started gymnastics at the age of 4 and by the time I was 8 years old, competed at the elite level, training 24 hours a week. Seems a bit crazy when you think about it now, but that’s just what we did. I followed the Olympics closely every time they came around – this was during the era when both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games were held during the same year.
The boycott of the 1980 Olympics in the Soviet Union meant that there are few memories for me from those games but I still have very fond memories of Mary Lou Retton, American’s golden girl, at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. She was the perfect gymnast, she had everything – the power, the grace, the skill and the smile (and the same coach as Nadia). Gymnastics has changed tremendously since that era, and when I left the sport in 1988, it was partly because I didn’t have the guts to do the new and challenging tricks. I still enjoying watching it, but not with the same level of enthusiasm as I once did.
For me, it doesn’t matter what sport it is, if it’s part of the Olympics, chances are that I will watch it. Both Summer and Winter games appeal to me. I remember when the IOC decided that the games would alternate, so there would be an event every 2 years, starting with Lillehammer in 1994. I was so excited about this – no longer would I have to wait four years to watch! I remember how well our Canadian Figure Skaters performed in Lillehammer, the era of Elvis Stojko and Isabelle & Lloyd.
My passion for the Olympics was lit at a very young age. My mom also loved the Olympics and passed it on to me. I have always loved sports and have tried my hand at many of them. Sure, I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast, but when I quit the elite team at age 8, I knew that dream had passed. I often would think of what sport I could pick up so that I could one day participate in the Olympics, but as I get closer to 35 years old, it’s highly doubtful that my Olympic dream will come true. For now, I live vicariously through our Canadian athletes, I cheer when they are competing and cry when the don’t make it – or when they do! I’m so proud of our athletes – they have worked hard and sacrificed for their dreams and have helped the rest of us to realize how powerful goals and dream can really be!
Here is one of the best moments so far in my opinion (there are so many!) – Marianne St-Gelais wins Silver in Short-Track Speed Skaing. Thanks to ctv.ca for the live broadcasts over the internet!
Questions of the day: What is your favorite Olympic sport? Did you have a dream to be an Olympian and in what sport? Are you obsessed with Olympic fever too?
Share your thoughts and let’s cheer on our athletes from around the world together.