Olympic fever sparks national pride

In our home we have been watching the Olympics late into the night and early in the morning. I have been involved in swimming across the northwest and Ontario for almost 30 years. In my time I have watched a young man begin swimming competitively when he was only seven in Kenora, compete this year in the Olympics. His specialty at 19 is the breaststroke. By the time he was 12 he was already recognized as a future Olympian.

Gabe Mastromatteo has already brought home medals from competitions from around the world. He finished 31st in his first Olympic event. He has more events coming up.

On Saturday evening we were on the edge of our chairs as four young women lead by Penny Oleksiak, Kayla Sanchez, Rebecca Smith and Margaret Mac Neil brought home Canada’s first medal of the games in the 4 by 100 relay. Oleksiak tracked down the swimmer holding second place and out touched that swimmer at the final wall.

Sunday night “Maggie” Mac Neil won her second medal with a gold medal in the 100-meter butterfly. Later in the evening fourteen-year-old Summer McIntosh fought hard against American legend Katie Ledecky and finished fourth less that a second behind the winner.

Also, on Sunday night after losing out on a gold medal Jessica Klimkait won Canada’s first ever bronze medal in women’s judo.

There will be more medals for Canada and our Olympic team will continue to make us proud. Cheering our athletes allows us to forget about all the tragedies going on around us.

We will continue to worry about the Delta variant Covid virus and will continue to encourage every Canadian to be fully vaccinated. Climate change bringing drought, massive flooding, and gigantic forest fires affecting air quality thousands of miles away still impact us.

We will continue to assist our neighbours who suffered loss and damage to homes and vehicles from the windstorm that struck Reef Point, Hopkins Bay and Rocky Islet Bay on Friday night knocking out power for over 24 hours. We will praise the Olympian efforts of Hydro crews who worked almost around the clock in restoring power.

We can sing the praises to the MNR pilots who flew the water bomber dowsing out the fire at Sportsman’s Landing on Clearwater Lake. We can praise the firefighters who fought and brought the fire on Jackfish Lake under control. In this drought period, we can each of us work to make the woods and bush safer.

And for another 10 days, we can cheer on all the world athletes competing in Tokyo. The Olympics are a wonderful diversion making us feel good being Canadian.

Jim Cumming
Former publisher
Fort Frances Tim
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