Despite the time difference between here and Pyeongchang that often meant late nights or very early mornings, Canadians from coast to coast to coast were glued to their TV sets for more than two weeks watching with pride as our athletes delivered the country's best-ever medal showing at the Winter Olympics.
There were plenty of triumphs to celebrate on the slopes and ice surfaces, along with some crushing disappointments to endure. All in all, though, these Games were a stellar success for Canada with our haul of 29 medals (11 gold, eight silver, and 10 bronze) to finish third overall behind Norway and Germany.
While the Olympics is when most Canadians have the chance to see our athletes in action, what typically gets overlooked is the tremendous dedication and sacrifices these men and women have put into their training—well away from the spotlight and often from a very young age—in order to represent Canada on the world stage.
Equally important to note is the diverse backgrounds of our athletes, particularly when it comes to where they hail from originally. It usually isn't the big cities but instead the thousands of small towns that dot our country—whether they're located on the Prairies, the B.C. Interior, across the Maritimes, or right here in Northwestern Ontario.
Sure, many of them eventually have to relocate to larger centres in order to access elite training but the bottom line is they got their start in their hometown rinks and slopes, with local coaches offering them their first guidance and skills development.
It's a great reminder to youths in small towns everywhere, including here in Rainy River District, that what's important is not where you come from, but what rests in your heart and mind, when it comes to achieving the dream of being an Olympian.