Watching the Olympic Games come to a close Sunday night in London had many moments of brilliance, none more so than the stirring scene of Burnabyís Christine Sinclair marching into the stadium carrying Canadian colours.
Sinclair, captain of the bronze-medal winning womenís soccer team, is all class, guts and determination. She truly shows what being Canadian is all about ó never giving up.
Unless you have been under a rock for the past two weeks, you will know full well what the womenís soccer team had to overcome. In their semifinal match Aug. 6 against the U.S., Canada held leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 (a hat trick by Sinclair), only to see the Americans battle back on all three occasions ó the latter in a most controversial fashion when the referee called an infrequently used delay of game penalty against Canadian keep Erin McLeod. That call led to a free kick and a hand ball in the box, which led to a penalty kick and the U.S. tied the game at 3-3. Then in the dying seconds of the second 15-minute overtime session, the U.S. scored the winning goal, sending them to the gold medal match and crushing our countryís hopes for a gold medal.
The team was stunned, and so was much of the nation. How could this have happened? Our girls worked so hard and deserved a much better fate.
But in true Canadian spirit, the team re-grouped, led by Sinclair, and pulled out a thrilling 1-0 win over France to capture the bronze medal. It was as good as gold. Our spirits were lifted and Canada was even prouder of our Olympic team.
Overall, our athletes, many of whom are from this province, came home with 18 medals. Could our athletes have done better? Of course. There were so many close calls, what ifs and what could have beens, many fourth place finishes and athletes who were expected to win medals but just didnít have it on the day they competed. Thatís sport. Thatís life. Sometimes the ball just doesnít bounce the way it should.
But we can take a lot away from these Games. London put on a fantastic show. We can understand the feeling of pride that the Brits feel because we too felt that just a few short years ago when we hosted the world in Vancouver for the Winter Olympics.
There are many messages that come from these Games. Determination and not giving up are just a few things that come to mind. We canít help but wonder if there are some young soccer players here on the Coast or some other young athletes who watched these Games and saw athletes like Sinclair. They have a role model to look up to, to aspire to, and thatís really what itís all about, isnít it? Inspiration for the next generation. Good on you, Team Canada. Thanks for making us all so proud.