Monday, February 15, 2010

First Gold for Canada!

The biggest news story for the day is definitely about Canada's first gold yesterday at the Moguls event during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. It has many firsts, but the top one is that the Home-Gold jinx has been broken. Canada did not win gold when they play hosts to the Olympics in Montreal or in Calgary. It takes the resolve of Alex Bilodeau and the united support of the entire country of Canada to rein in the first gold for the country, on home soil!

At every major newspapers in Canada, Alex Bilodeau has become the national hero. The pictures above and below speaks more than a thousand words. Yet, it tells me that this home-goal-drought element has become more hyped up than anything. Advertisers and the mass media has done an impressive job of getting this into the heads of every Canadian. It has become a resounding success in media influencing the minds of so many people. On the streets, we can hear the hype turning into mounting pressure for athletes to break this jinx. At some point, I think it becomes unhelpful. This is when athletes start to fumble under pressure. Not many people can perform their best when the limelight is shined upon them. Much less, the novices or unknowns who simply compete for the joy of the sport.

Rejoicing with Those Who Rejoice
We want to rejoice with all in Canada on this historic moment, with "Go Canada Go!" Yet, I believe there is something else that Canadians have to maintain their passion in. Winning gold at a major competition like the Olympics is great. Winning it against all odds is even better. What is most important for the human spirit is to share this joy of achievement with all athletes. This is a time to rejoice. This is a time to be happy. However, let us not forget that the medal winners cannot be where they are without the support of so many people. Apart from their families and friends, the government and various big organizations that step up their giving, the time and sacrifices of every volunteer, there is also the need to recognize the competitors. Be glorious when we win, but be gracious when we lose. There can only be one gold winner at the top. What makes this gold most meaningful is not the winning, but all the rest who pushes him/her to achieve the gold. Alex Bilodeau may be the champion for now. Canada may be partying all over for the first gold to be won on Canadian soil. We must always remember to acknowledge the rest who makes it all possible to push Alex to attain his best. 

Keeping Things in Perspective: Hospitality Gold at stake
If we win, we give thanks for the privilege to excel. If we lose, we give thanks as well for the opportunity to compete. As important as winning is, I believe sportsmanlike behavior must be the winning attitude in all. When this attitude is worn throughout the Olympics, I believe Canada and all countries supporting the Olympics are the true winners. For Canadians, remember that we are all competing in another arena: Hospitality. Thus I feel troubled that even as protesters are congregating downtown to protest against the Olympics for whatever reasons, we need to distinguish between 'freedom of speech,' and extending a hand of hospitality to our guests. Both can be done. May we win 'gold' in this oft-forgotten responsibility even as people are embroiled in a medal-feasting frenzy. In fact, it is clearly ours to win.


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