Vancouver 2010 – Let The Olympic Games Begin

So this is it! My country, Canada is hosting the world and the Olympics (for the third time). Did you watch the opening ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games? So much to say, eh?

Regardless the cauldron mechanical malfunction and the absence of a Jamaican bobsleigh team, let’s focus today on Okanagan poet Shane Koyczan’s work. Do you agree with his definition of Canadians? Are we more? Which part of the poem moved you the most?

We Are More by Shane Koyczan

When defining Canada
you might list some statistics
you might mention our tallest building
or biggest lake
you might shake a tree in the fall
and call a red leaf Canada
you might rattle off some celebrities
might mention Buffy Sainte-Marie
might even mention the fact that we’ve got a few
Barenaked Ladies
or that we made these crazy things
like zippers
electric cars
and washing machines

when defining Canada
it seems the world’s anthem has been
“been there done that”
and maybe that’s where we used to be at
it’s true
we’ve done and we’ve been
we’ve seen
all the great themes get swallowed up by the machine
and turned into theme parks

but when defining Canada
don’t forget to mention that we have set sparks
we are not just fishing stories
about the one that got away
we do more than sit around and say “eh?”
and yes
we are the home of the Rocket and the Great One
who inspired little number nines
and little number ninety-nines
but we’re more than just hockey and fishing lines
off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes

and some say what defines us
is something as simple as please and thank you
and as for you’re welcome
well we say that too
but we are more
than genteel or civilized
we are an idea in the process
of being realized
we are young
we are cultures strung together
then woven into a tapestry
and the design
is what makes us more
than the sum total of our history

we are an experiment going right for a change
with influences that range from a to zed
and yes we say zed instead of zee
we are the colours of Chinatown and the coffee of Little Italy
we dream so big that there are those
who would call our ambition an industry
because we are more than sticky maple syrup and clean snow
we do more than grow wheat and brew beer
we are vineyards of good year after good year
we reforest what we clear
because we believe in generations beyond our own
knowing now that so many of us
have grown past what used to be

we can stand here today
filled with all the hope people have
when they say things like “someday”
someday we’ll be great
someday we’ll be this
or that
someday we’ll be at a point
when someday was yesterday
and all of our aspirations will pay the way
for those who on that day
look towards tomorrow
and still they say someday
we will reach the goals we set
and we will get interest on our inspiration

because we are more than a nation of whale watchers and lumberjacks
more than backpacks and hiking trails
we are hammers and nails building bridges
towards those who are willing to walk across
we are the lost-and-found for all those who might find themselves at a loss
we are not the see-through gloss or glamour
of those who clamour for the failings of others
we are fathers brothers sisters and mothers
uncles and nephews aunts and nieces
we are cousins
we are found missing puzzle pieces
we are families with room at the table for newcomers
we are more than summers and winters
more than on and off seasons

we are the reasons people have for wanting to stay
because we are more than what we say or do
we live to get past what we go through
and learn who we are
we are students
students who study the studiousness of studying
so we know what as well as why
we don’t have all the answers
but we try
and the effort is what makes us more
we don’t all know what it is in life we’re looking for

so keep exploring
go far and wide
or go inside but go deep
go deep
as if James Cameron was filming a sequel to The Abyss
and suddenly there was this location scout
trying to figure some way out
to get inside you
because you’ve been through hell and high water
and you went deep
keep exploring
because we are more
than a laundry list of things to do and places to see
we are more than hills to ski
or countryside ponds to skate

we are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can’t wait
we are first-rate greasy-spoon diners and healthy-living cafes
a country that is all the ways you choose to live
a land that can give you variety
because we are choices
we are millions upon millions of voices shouting
“keep exploring… we are more”

we are the surprise the world has in store for you
it’s true
Canada is the “what” in “what’s new?”
so don’t say “been there done that”
unless you’ve sat on the sidewalk
while chalk artists draw still lifes
on the concrete of a kid in the street
beatboxing to Neil Young for fun
don’t say you’ve been there done that
unless you’ve been here doing it
let this country be your first-aid kit
for all the times you get sick of the same old same old
let us be the story told to your friends
and when that story ends
leave chapters for the next time you’ll come back
next time pack for all the things
you didn’t pack for the first time
but don’t let your luggage define your travels
each life unravels differently
and experiences are what make up
the colours of our tapestry

we are the true north
strong and free
and what’s more
is that we didn’t just say it
we made it be.

I love Kosuke Kitajima’s breaststroke swimming style

Water Cube = stunning

Michael Phelps is a swimming machine, but we have to give the breaststroke crown to the Japanese Kosuke Kitajima. I have to confess, I can’t swim (…) so I guess I can’t really talk about swimming techniques. Nevertheless, my hours in front of the Beijing Water Cube events could give me some credibility, perhaps? No?

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breaststroke champ

Well, can I just say that I love watching Kitajima swim then? He seems so comfortable in the water. Here’s a little video of him when he broke a world record during the 2008 Japan Open.


Chinese Yang Wei dominates in gymnastics

I must admit, I am not the biggest fan of gymnastics, I only watch that discipline once every 4 years. The thing is that when all those olympians begin their routine, I just can’t switch channels (yes, u r right, all the other channels are also broadcasting the Olympics, but it is not my point here). I can’t look away from their routine because their performance is astonishing. I just can’t believe how they do all those maneuvers. They are so quick, jump so high, and incredibly strong (especially on the rings).

strong eh? have you seen his muscles?

China won 9 of the 14 gold medals in gymnastics artistic. Lately, there is a lot of echo about under aged female gymnasts. I prefer not to discuss about this matter.

I would rather share with you how much I respect Yang Wei, the individual all-around gold medal winner. He was absolutely dazzling in each of his routine.

another gold for China



Jujie Luan is a superstar 50 years old fencer

Jujie Luan

I heard a beautiful story today, there is this woman, Jujie Luan, who won the gold medal in fencing for China during the 1984 Olympic Games.  24 years later, at the age of 50, she wants to go duel in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, but this time, representing Canada. Obviously, she doesn’t need to win a medal to gain my respect; just to see how passionate she is for her sport, she is my new idol. Watching her first battle at the foil competition was so inspiring. Although she is way older than her opponent, she fenced with authority by reacting aggressively after each of her point, and with her experience, she won against the Tunisian Ines Boubakri.

Because of Jujie Luan, I have discovered how fencing is an incredible sport and how an athlete’s will goes beyond what we can imagine. Thank you for your inspiration.

“As an athlete, if you come across a setback and flinch, then you’re not a true athlete.”


Michael Phelps is a superstar swimmer

Michael Phelps

superstar Michael Phelps 1st gold

I know, this is a too easy choice, yes, he is already a big superstar. Nonetheless, I wanted to emphasize the grandeur of his quest: mister Phelps wants 8 gold medals. Not just 8 medals, but 8 gold medals, he might win more Olympics titles than the Canadian nation overall (no comment). Anyhoo, this swimmer won his first gold medal in the 200m freestyle. How many medals do you think he will win during these Beijing Olympic Games?


Chen Xia Xia is a weightlifting superstar

The first Olympics event that was broadcasting on my TV is weightlifting. Because I watch the Canadian channel, they were presenting the performance of Marilou Dozois-Prévost from my hometown, Montreal. It is nice that we get to know more about our athletes.

Another nation that I follow very closely is China (of course). The host country didn’t wait long for their first medal. This superstar, Chen Xia Xia not only won the first gold medal for her nation, but also broke 2 Olympic records. This 25-year-old snatched and jerked a total of 212 kg.

Chen Xia Xia

25 year-old who broke 2 olympic records


Beijing Welcomes the Olympic Games in a Spectacular Way

On this lucky day 8/8/8, I woke up early to be able to catch the opening ceremony at 8h08 Beijing time.

Although I am an ocean away from the Middle Kingdom, I could feel the electricity in that Bird’s Nest Stadium. The Opening Ceremony of these XIX th Olympics was breathtaking.  It started in a spectacular way with the 2008 drummers at the countdown. Hearing them roaring one phrase of Confucius: “Friends have come from afar, how happy we are.” was very touching.

Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremony: 2008 drummers

2008 Drummers

The calligraphy part was absolutely stunning where hundreds of persons inside boxes bobbed up and down to create the Chinese character ‘he,’ which means both harmony and peace.  The timing of the execution amazed me.Movable-type printing

Opening Ceremony Calligraphy

The taiji performance was brilliant too: such a great control of the body. The dove formed by the “enlighted” persons was flying to our hearts.

I also admire the subtle transition they did from the artists performance to the parade of athletes where more than 10 000 of them left their footprints on the unique canvas.

Athletes\' footprints in 5 colors on the artists canvas

Although I cannot describe all the magical acts of the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony, I hope that you were all moved by the pride of the Chinese who are so happy to welcome friends from all over the world.  A lot of controversy has been stirred around this important event, but let’s all wish for One World One Dream 同一个世界 同一个梦想

I invite you to leave your thoughts as well about the Opening Ceremony.

I’ve tried to find some YouTube videos to share with you the beauty of the Opening Ceremony (for those who have been able to miss it!) and I must say that many were no longer available due to a copyright claim. If you have found some videos, please share them with us.



Beijing Olympics Ready to Welcome You 北京欢迎你


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This is the moment of the year when I used to go travel abroad, but this year I am still in my beautiful city of Montreal and enjoying a wonderful time with my dear friends. Nevertheless, I miss China very much, I am very lucky to have been able to go study there twice. I met warm-hearted Chinese who became great friends of mine. Today, I saw this promotion music video of Beijing Olympics and can’t help reminiscing…

(Do you recognize the superstars in the MV?)