Thursday, February 25, 2010
Like most people around the world, I have been captivated by the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Between hockey, skiing, curling, speed skating, figure skating, it's hard to keep up with all the events!
And each event brings with it stories about the athletes involved. How hard they've worked to get here, the sacrifices they and their families have made along the way. The triumphs and the tragedies all tug at our hearts.
But no story has touched more people than that of French Canadian figure skater, Joannie Rochette. This woman personifies the word "Courage".
First imagine the excitement of awaiting your family to join you for the biggest event of your life. Your parents arrive in Vancouver and tragedy strikes. Your mother, your biggest fan and supporter, dies of a heart attack. The shock of such an event would devastate anyone, never mind an athlete expected to give her all to her craft.
Despite the shock, the grief and indescribable pain, Joannie performed her short program as scheduled. What kind of courage did it take for her to step out onto that ice Tuesday evening? What kind of mental fortitude did that require? One can only speculate.
As a spectator watching her give her all to that program, and performing well enough to achieve third place, only to fall to pieces with the roaring of the crowd afterwards, I was moved beyond words. What a wonderful example to all the young people everywhere of strength, determination, integrity and courage.
We will be wishing Joannie every blessing and good wish tonight as she performs her free skate. May her guardian angel be with her as she again conquers her pain to perform for herself, her family and her country.
Bonne chance, Joannie! Canada loves you!