"Good evening Mr. Bond." Leave it to the Brits to infuse humour into the pomp and pageantry of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Brilliant! How wonderful of the Queen to join in the fun. What better way to "Bond" these games? Then there was Mr. Bean -- without saying a word, his antics brought out a giggle or two from the millions of worldwide onlookers. I am a big fan of British humour and to see it incorporated into the ceremonies in such a successful fashion was so refreshing.
The event was very entertaining with a lot of special effects that left one constantly wondering what was next. Personally, I liked how the individual petals were brought into the stadium with each country and then placed onto the arms of the Olympic Torch. The design was quite artistic and watching the individual arms raise together to form a caldron was beautiful, however, I do believe that the placement of the caldron should have been somewhere outside the stadium for everyone to see and experience.
The Londoners have all contributed to these games in some way and it is a shame that this symbol is hidden away to only those lucky enough to be inside the stadium walls. All in all though, it was a great opening night and a great success to start off these 2012 London Olympic Games.
As an Olympian, there is a very special emotion that I feel when I see the Olympic flag being marched into the stadium. It symbolizes everything that the hours, days and years of hard work and dedication lead up to. This is as big as it gets; the top of the mountain. Every athlete there, wearing the colours of their homeland, understands this emotion and it is an incredible sense of pride that is felt. The feeling in the air is one of positivity and hope. The dreams have now become realities and the jobs they are there to do have now begun. Canada's representation has been amazing. Our athletes are wonderful Ambassadors both on and off the playing field and we are assured of a new crop of fans with each showing.
When you watch these games, I'd like you to look at each event with a new perspective. Look deeper into what you are witnessing. Imagine the pressure these athletes are feeling to perform at their best. It is incredible. Viewers don't realize how difficult it is for competitors to get a restful sleep or proper nutrition when there is so much nervous energy and millions of butterflies in their stomachs. They are seasoned but they are still dealing with the same emotions that you feel. Yes, they have been trained and you expect them to perform but it's not as easy as Ready, Set, Go... and WIN. Think of it a different way... imagine yourself doing what you do best, whether it is your job or a hobby and now do it in front of millions and remember you only get one chance to do it right.
There is a whole plethora of feelings and emotions and thoughts to control. Firstly, there is the anticipation of competing and that in itself can be quite daunting. Your mind never rests because there is a constant barrage of thoughts. Meditation and visualization is key, when it comes to the preparation that leads up to the start of any event. Everything must come together, at the perfect moment, in perfect synchronicity, to give it your best shot. These athletes are very prepared and the adrenalin is pumping.
There are many differences, even with elite athletes, when a management plan is developed. Each individual has their own unique style of handling the situation at hand. There are some that become very quiet and don't mutter a word; there are some that talk non-stop. In the moments leading up to stepping into the starting blocks, some move about like a caged animal and there are some that remain motionless. All the while, there are thoughts racing through the mind at an incredible speed.
Coaching staff are extremely aware of the fact that each individual is unique and flexibility in how athletes are handled and prepared is imperative. Some need that last push of motivation and inspiration, others need to be left alone. It is a delicate balance. One thing is for sure, there is drive and passion in each participant there, so whether they win, place or show...or not... they are all champions.
They have all honed their skills to an incredible level and that's why they are all Olympians.
Canada's first medal win of the London games has come with the bronze medal performance by Emilie Heyman and Jennifer Abel in synchronized diving. How wonderful to see this pair on the podium. A veteran and virtual youngster teamed together with a very successful finish. They have made their friends, family and country extremely proud. More than that, they have realized their dream, one now that they will forever hold dear to their hearts. There are many more events to watch, many more athletes trying to achieve their goals. I'd like you to watch with a new perspective; try to imagine what it is these athletes are feeling as they give it their all. You'll have a better understanding of what they are experiencing. Let's send them some positive energy and cheer them on.