Power athletes did us proud

I stood outside the northeast corner of the Eaton Centre in Toronto last Tuesday and gazed across Yonge Street to watch Perdita Felicien run the 100-m hurdles.
Across the street in the open square, probably 3,000 other people were watching the same screen as the CBC commentators began the introductions for the race.
Traffic on Yonge going north and south, that had been moving slowly, came to almost a complete stop. Everyone was focused on the race. Everyone was prepared to cheer wildly at the expected win.
As we all know, the race for Perdita Felicien ended at the first hurdle. You could feel the collective cringe of the crowd as she plunged into the second one.
The crowd groaned in disbelief and then many began moving on with their lives again. But for a few minutes, we were all in the stadium watching the race.
Most stayed, just as they had after the defeat of the Canadian baseball team to the Cubans that same day.
Torontonians really had empathy for Perdita. They were ready to cheer and still ready to pick her up and cheer her on. Our Olympians rally the Canadian spirit.
Listening to the “Cross Canada Radio” forum on Sunday, it was interesting to note how many Canadian athletes finished in the top 10 during the Olympics in Greece.
Canada may not have done as well in the medal count as in the two previous Olympics but on whole, our athletes overall did better than in previous years.
During the closing ceremonies on Sunday, IOC president Jacques Rogge challenged the athletes of the world to return home and promote the spirit of the Games and promote clean sport.
Rogge also urged Canada to spend more on athletics. In a time when statistics show more Canadian youth and adults are suffering from obesity, the encouragement for Canadians to spend more on athletics is a good one.
It is an encouragement to spend more on facilities, coaching, and equipment. Ultimately, it will mean healthier Canadians as the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, and many other diseases will decrease.
Hopefully, it also will encourage more of our youth to take up a greater variety of sports that will see more Canadians compete at the international level representing their country.
And they, too, will renew our dreams of success.

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