Olympians like Cassie Sharpe, from Comox, bring out the best in humanity. (File photo)

Olympians like Cassie Sharpe, from Comox, bring out the best in humanity. (File photo)

Column: Olympics highlight the best of humanity

It was thrilling to watch Cassie Sharpe from Comox win gold in the women’s ski half-pipe competition at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics last week.

You could tell by the wide grin on the 25 year-old free-style skier’s face after she realized she had taken the top prize that she was just as surprised and delighted as many others that a home-town Island girl reached the pinnacle of her sport.

Apparently, Sharpe galvanized the whole Comox Valley with her bid for Olympic gold, with numerous viewing parties at private homes and local eating establishments in that Island community.

Comox Mayor Paul Ives also got caught up in the excitement.

“I think we all watched it with a bit of nervousness… but it was a great result and certainly something that we are all really proud of,” he said after Sharpe’s win.

I don’t exactly know what it is about the Olympics that it draws me, as well as so many others, in and keeps us so mesmerized watching athletes at the peak of their abilities travelling at break-neck speeds down a mountain or spiralling high into the air.

Even the figure-skating competitions, which I ordinary would avoid at all costs at other times, are fascinating to watch in the highly charged atmosphere of the Olympics.

I even found myself up in the middle of the night watching live events at the Olympics which are being held half a world away this time round, making live viewing for us in the western world difficult.

It seems there are many Island people who are hypnotized as much as I am by the sports spectacle, as the Olympics seemed to be the main topic of conversation for most people I’ve talked to during the past two weeks.

It even appears to supersede the antics of Donald Trump who has been sucking the oxygen out of every room his face appears in for more than a year now.

There’s definitely an attraction to watching athletes who have trained for years in their individual sports to make it to the Olympics, the greatest competition of them all.

As viewers, we revel in their victories and feel the despair of their defeats and that allows us to share, in some small way, the Olympic experience.

I suppose the thrill is even more profound when someone we know is participating in Pyeongchang this year.

I can only imagine the excitement that coursed through Cassie Sharpe’s home in Comox when she won her gold medal and I’m envious of the reporters in that Island community who will have the honour of interviewing her with her gold medal in tow when she returns home.

But it doesn’t stop with Sunday’s closing cermonies.

Paralympian Braydon Luscumbe, who is from Duncan, is among seven men and five women that have been formally nominated for selection to compete as part of the Canadian Paralympic Team in South Korea.

The para-alpine skier is a veteran competitor and hopes are high that he will make it to the podium at his second Paralympic Winter Games, taking place in March.

We can only wait in anxious anticipation.

In an ever volatile world, it’s events like the Olympics that draw us together to celebrate the best of humanity.


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Column: Olympics highlight the best of humanity