Weekly MP Report from Jay Hill

MP Report by Jay Hill, M.P.

“Olympic Fever Hits Canada!”

Canadians have been collectively experiencing a wide range of emotions throughout the past week since the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games opened last Friday.  Anticipation, joy, amazement, surprise, disappointment and suspense, but most of all … pride.

Pride in our country as we host the world.  Pride in our athletes for their talent and dedication.

Since experiences are so much better when shared, all across Canada families, friends and neighbours are gathering together to watch the best reality TV show ever produced!  In fact 23 million viewers tuned-in to CTV’s coverage of the opening ceremonies, or two out of three Canadians.

And it was worth it!  If patriotism has a sound, it was what the world heard live on 11 television networks when Rick Hansen brought the Olympic Flame into B.C. Place Stadium where he was joined by four other Canadian sports legends, Catriona Le May Doan, Steve Nash, Nancy Greene Raine and Wayne Gretzky.

The beaming, joyful and proud faces of those five deserving Canadians captured the first of many “Olympic Moments”.  More were quick to follow.

Jenn Heil won Canada’s first medal with a silver Saturday night in Moguls’ Skiing.  Then, on only the second day of competition, Alexandre Bilodeau won Canada’s first gold at these games in men’s moguls.  In just the first five days, Canadian athletes captured six medals!

If I have one complaint surrounding these Olympics, it’s the extremes which some of our national news media have taken in criticizing every possible aspect of the games.

Some might say it’s typically Canadian to take on a self-deprecating attitude … part of our modest and humble style.  Yet, I’m disappointed by the number of news stories focused on glitches and tough expectations on our athletes.

Yes, it’s worth reporting on the technical malfunction that caused one of the legs of the indoor flame cauldron at the opening ceremonies to remain underground. However, what’s wrong with also focusing on the class and professionalism with which the flame-bearers dealt with that unexpected issue?

And when Alexandre Bilodeau won his event, the pundits obsessed that "finally" we won our first Gold here at home in Canada. What does his success have to do with what did or did not happen in 1976 in Montreal or 1988 in Calgary?

As for the endless stories on the weather, Mother Nature has been impacting Olympic Games since rowing was cancelled due to bad weather at the very first “modern” Olympics held in Athens in 1896!  Let’s please emphasize the ability of organizers to overcome these challenges and to allow the games to go on!

Personally, one of the most rewarding moments of these Olympics so far was the Men’s 1000m speed skating final featuring our very own Fort St. John native, Denny Morrison.  To be in the stands at the fabulous Richmond Oval with thousands of other Canadians hollering and whistling Denny on is an experience I’ll not soon forget.

Although Denny didn’t win, I’m sure he’d be one of the first to agree, that just to have qualified to be there, representing Canada … the greatest country on earth … was a victory in itself!  Go Canada Go.