Olympic Spirit and Community Pride

I was an Olympic gymnastic athlete in 1976.  I wore my black leotard and performed a near perfect floor routine but my real talent was on the uneven bars.  I could fly around the bars, chalk dust puffing into the air with every grab.  People all over the world would hold their breath, gasp and then burst into applause at my incredible dismounts.  Yes, it was glorious to stand on the peak of the podium with my bouquet of flowers and bow to accept another gold medal around my neck.  Ahhh…it’s wonderful to have an imagination when you are a kid isn’t it?  The Olympic spirit caught me back in the 70’s when I watched my first summer Olympics.  I was in gymnastics at the time and so I’d run in and change into my leotard when I got home from school before I turned on the tv to watch.  I tried to imitate what I saw which must have looked pretty strange without the actual equipment, but I loved it! The Olympics were in Montreal and I was a homesick Canadian living in Australia then.  I had just been bitten by a love for gymnastics and this was none other than the year Nadia Comeneci obtained a perfect score…on the uneven bars…my favourite apparatus!

It's uncanny how alike we were!

I guess I peaked early though because my career in gymnastics kind of fizzled after that, but I still always loved watching the Olympics.  In recent years the excitement around the games took on a whole new meaning for me when my husbands company, Sitka Log Homes, was chosen to build three lodges for the Salt Lake City winter Olympics.  The biggest thrill came when we were hired to build a log house to send to Turino, Italy for the last winter Olympics in 2006.  It was used to promote our own upcoming winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler and as meeting place for all the Canadian athletes competing in Italy.

Cindy Klassen in our house!

Today, I am extremely proud to have the opportunity to feel the Olympic spirit first hand in my own community.  I’m a volunteer at the flame lighting ceremony here in Vernon.  My job, apparently, is to protect the ice castle that has been created in the park for the ceremony.  I knew all those years of karate and various martial arts would come in handy!  Beware children…I know some moves and I’m not afraid to use them.

When I see that Olympic torch come jogging into my community I know my heart will swell with pride for our Canadian athletes and for our home province who, I have no doubt, will put on a great show and make all Canadians proud.  Now just let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!


11 thoughts on “Olympic Spirit and Community Pride

  1. And you did a “gold medal” performance of protecting the ice castle Bonnie ! And I think we should get a gold for our photography too 🙂
    Thanks for your help !! (no small children were injured today either !!)

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  3. I totally remember the ’76 Olympics, and Nadia in particular. It was so exciting. How nice for you to get to be at the flame-lighting ceremony, Bonnie! I will be out there watching as the torch makes it way through White Rock on Feb. 9. Too cool.

  4. I love the Olympics, and am surprised that alot of people don’t. With the Olympics being here in Vancouver, I have heard quite a few ‘naysayers’. I have a co-worker who is mid-ish 20s who is a torch bearer…and could care less about having the torch as a momento afterwards. WHY are these people involved? It seems like such as waste. We have told her our opinions (there’s 3 or 4 of us) what an experience of a lifetime, to be a part of history, etc.

    How proud you must have all been to be selected to build homes for the athletes. An honour to be involved, that’s how I think it should be. Experience of a lifetime, part of history…

    Someone recently said to me that they were anti-Olympics, and I asked why, their response was ‘have you heard of the HST?’ (a soon to be Harmonized Sales Tax, effective July/10…extra 7% added to EVERYTHING here in BC) I was stunned!…what? They aren’t even related – geesh!

    I can hardly wait, wish I could afford some of the tickets though – I never thought they’d cost as much as they do. Good thing my husband ‘sold’ me on the big screen t.v., and HD channels years ago, they might come in handy.

    • I’ll be watching it all on tv too! If you walk by our house during the games you’ll be sure to hear us cheering!

      I can understand some of the reasons behind why some don’t want the Olympics, but at this point like it or not, they are going to happen. Why not embrace the spirit of pride we all feel for our athletes and country. I guess some people get their news stories mixed up.

      Maybe after your co-worker has had the experience of running with the torch she will feel differently…I hope.

  5. I am sorry I was out of town when the flame came through. Would have been great to be part of the celebration. I love how the Olympics always pulls people together, not just in the city where they are held but worldwide. Life is always that much better for the 2 weeks or so they are on. I remember in 1980 staying up til all hours of the night in Australia to watch the winter Olympics in Lake Placid. I love both the Summer and Winter Olympics but the winters have always captured my imagination more so.

    Vancouver 2010 yay!

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