World focus on Olympics

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It’s show time …

After pouring another three-plus years of blood, sweat and tears into their Olympic dreams, Canadian athletes will again appear on the largest sports stage in the world in PyeongChang, South Korea.

With both the cross-country and biathlon national teams headquartered in Canmore, locals can take pride in the fact their town houses more Olympians per capita than any other locale in this country.

Unlike towns and cities which will have no Olympic presence in PyeongChang, with citizens watching and cheering strictly as supportive Canadians, Bow Valley residents have the opportunity to cheer on those they share their community with. This includes 21 athletes, as well as dedicated coaches and all manner of support staff who assist in creating those Olympic dreams.

From curler John Morris (who began mixed doubles curling on Wednesday) to the many competitors which make up our Olympic cross-country and biathlon teams, the Outlook offers best wishes, good health and hopes for top results.

You often hear athletes speak of the pride they take in wearing the maple leaf when representing this country, but really, one can only imagine the joy and emotion of joining a large Canadian contingent marching into the opening and closing ceremonies in front of tens of thousands, let alone being on a podium as “O Canada” is played.

Then there is the critical importance of the Olympics’ four-year cycle, which also separates it from other competitions. For many athletes in many sports, a bad or off performance on any given day, or championship, means waiting another year for another crack. But with the Olympics, a heartbreaking injury, illness, or unexpected challenge means four long years before another attempt may be made.

Often, in those intervening years, an athlete finds they cannot continue to dedicate their time due to injury, age, work or family commitments. For many athletes, there is a “next year,” but for Olympians, there’s not always “another four years.”

As well, unlike past hockey teams made up of NHL millionaires who are able to view the Olympics as a cool interruption of their regular hockey season, for example, our amateur valley Olympic athletes often live in far from glorious grandeur. In fact, many pay their own way due to insufficient funding from governing bodies. This as well speaks to their dedication to continue in their sport and represent Canada at the Olympics.

Finally, in particular, the Outlook hopes none of our Olympians suffer from placing behind doping athletes. Our athletes, at least, can hold their heads high in knowing they participate ‘clean’ and don’t require the very best in pharmaceuticals to turn in their top performances.

With on again, off again doping bans, reinstatements and appeals by Russian athletes in particular, there remains a cloud over Olympics results. It’s gotten to the point where past instant gratification of a victory has turned into something of an unfortunate wait and see process.

Trouble is, no longer is anyone surprised or shocked by immediate doping announcements, expulsions or medal retractions within a Games, or years later, for that matter.

Canadians, though, have generally avoided all the doping controversy and make us all proud.

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Rocky Mountain Outlook