I was wondering if I would ever use “leet-speak” (or l33t-sp33k) in a blog entry, and I guess I now know the answer to that question.

With the Olympics (or ‘Pics, as I’ve been calling them) over for two more years, the world’s eyes are turning away from Vancouver and on to London, then later to Sochi.  Now is the time when we all, in typical Canadian fashion, sit back like we would after Christmas dinner and navel-gaze a bit. 

I admit I was skeptical.  I was even pessimistic.  I thought Canada’s Hockey team was going to be a re-run of Torino – and I was almost right.

Except I wasn’t.

In my last blog entry, I spent a great deal of time shredding the ‘Pics Opening Ceremonies, and I still stand behind a lot of that commentary, however I’m going to add that I think the Closing Ceremonies made up, quite handily, for the problems two weeks earlier.  Catriona got to light the cauldron, and they were able to have some fun with it in the process.  That, I thought, was very classy.

Despite a tragic beginning during a training run which killed a Georgian athlete on the Luge track, and despite a largely unfair shredding by the European press, the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games were an amazing success – on multiple fronts.  The athletes competed well, Canada won a Gold Medal in Hockey, Canada set an olympic record for the most Gold Medals won in a games – ever, Canada won a Gold Medal in Hockey, and Canada won a Gold Medal in Hockey.

Besides the athletic achievement, Canada was showcased extremely well to the world.  There have been numerous stereotypes about Canada for years, and these Olympics shattered many of them.  To, quite frankly, our benefit.  Canadians showed unprecedented patriotism and national pride, something that surprised the rest of the world, given our past “we’re nice and quiet” image. 

I think, if Canadians decide, the 2010 Olympics can be a turning point in Canada’s history.  We can take the momentum which these Games have started and build on it.  I’m feeling quite proud of Canada right now, and for me, that’s a huge change. 

I’ve talked about Canada being a Nation of Mediocrity – a Mediocracy.  I stand by that assessment.  In the past, “good enough” was all Canadians seemed to shoot for.  Now, after these Olympic Games, where, while we didn’t “own the podium” as planned, we certainly owned the top step, and, well, because we’re Canadian and like to share, we rented out the other two steps. 

So at the ‘pics, Canada’s athletes showed excellence.  Excellence isn’t about perfection – and I’ll be the first to say our athletes weren’t perfect – it’s about being the best one can be, and recognized as such.  14 Gold Medals is certainly a recognition.

But the ‘pics are now over.  The athletes are leaving, and the dust is settling again.  Where we go from here is unwritten.  We have a choice.

Choose excellence.

Steven Britton Deep Stuff, My Stuff, Opinion

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