French version to follow
First up – a quick acknowledgement to all the athletes who are chipping in to the flood recovery in Alberta. I’m so incredibly proud of the time and effort that many Olympians, current and retired, are contributing to your communities. Thank you
I first recognized the power of our flag as I walked into the Opening ceremony at the 1992 Olympic Games. Montjuic Stadium in Barcelona was colourfully packed with almost 70,000 cheering people waving flags from over 200 hundred nations and it was crystal clear to me, and all the other athletes who marched in, exactly which flags were Canadian. With its bright red borders, clean white centre and bold red maple leaf it is beautiful, powerful and distinct. Even at a distance, there is no confusion of which combination of blue, white and red, or red white and blue – or is that green, or black? four stars or six?
The Canadian flag represents millions but when I look at it, I see it as a lone sentry; it has my back, it stands on guard for me.
After marching into that stadium, I developed a completely unique relationship with our flag. The Canadian flag represents millions but when I look at it, I see it as a lone sentry; it has my back, it stands on guard for me. When my mind raced with possibilities, I would ‘talk’ to it – sharing my ambitions and fears – I found its constant strength to be peaceful and comforting; it kept me calm when I needed most to be calm. When I won my first Olympic gold medal, I realized that my relationship with the flag was incredibly personal. To this day, when I see the flag I acknowledge it as a friend who continues to ‘stand’ by my side through thick and thin. I love the strength of our flag, I am so proud to be Canadian.