It will be hard to match the Olympic fever that swept across Canada when Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Games.
For one, Canada is mostly associated as a winter locale—and we’ve enjoyed greater success on the ice and slopes on the world stage over the years. And, of course, as hosts, it was easier to get caught up in the excitement, culminating with Sidney Crosby’s overtime goal as our men’s hockey team captured gold over the U.S.
A banner in Eganville, Ont., a picturesque town of about 1,000 people in the heart of the Bonnechere Valley near Pembroke, proudly proclaims it as the hometown of Melissa Bishop, a 23-year-old who qualified June 30 for the Summer Games in London, England in the 800-metre track event.
Kenora, of course, produced renowned Olympic decathlete Michael Smith. Kenora’s Mike Richards and Chris Pronger of Dryden both were members of the 2010 men’s hockey team that claimed gold. Locally, Fort Frances native Chris Lindberg brought home a silver medal from the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, France as a member of Canada’s hockey team.
Donovan Taylor, heading off to the University of Indiana this fall on a swimming scholarship, already has had a taste of the Olympic qualifying process as a teenager and certainly has a shot at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. And Alex Parent, who lost part of a leg to cancer as a child, has come close to qualifying for the Paralympic Games.
Our Olympic athletes are a source of national pride as they go for gold in London. But equally important, they serve as tremendous role models to youngsters in small communities all across Canada that anything is possible when pursing a dream—no matter where you may grow up.
Hey, you never know.