2010 Olympic Anniversary

This coming weekend, believe it or not, we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics; a 17-day event that gripped our nation, and brought us together like nothing has ever done in the last 100 years.

As Shakespeare wrote in The Tempest, “We are such stuff as dreams are made on.” The 2010 Winter Olympics were such stuff as these dreams.

No one remembers who says no; we only remember who says yes.

Thirteen years ago, Bruce McMillan walked down the hall to the office of Rick Antonson, President of Tourism Vancouver, and said, “Why don’t we put together a proposal to win the bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympics?” Rick Antonson said yes, and as they say, the rest is history.

On Friday, February 12, 2010, at 6 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, the 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies began in front of 60,000 Olympic fans and about three billion viewers worldwide.

A monumental dream was realized!

During a pre-Olympic event at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Canada’s Governor General, Michaelle Jean, O.C., declared, “The very best we have to give, will be given.”

And it was, thanks to the organizers, athletes, volunteers, sponsors, supporters and millions of Canadians who got in the spirit and welcomed the world with open arms.

The Olympics were one of the most inspiring and exciting things that have ever happened in Vancouver.

VANOC CEO John Furlong, who immigrated to Canada many years ago from his home in Ireland, has often shared the story of his arrival here. Upon his entry into Canada, the immigration officer who examined his passport looked him in the eye and said, “Welcome to Canada. Make us better.” As leader of the team orchestrating the massive undertaking that was the 2010 Games, John has indeed done his part to make our country better.

Following the Olympics, John had this to say about his experience.

“I have an even greater appreciation today than I’ve ever had in my life about the power of a vision and about what happens when people pursue something with the kind of vigour you can. I think something pretty extraordinary has happened in the country and I am glad to have been a part of it.”

Let that be said of all of us, that we need to make our lives better and this country better. We need to believe in ourselves, believe in our dreams, and together we can make a difference – but it begins with a dream.

So, what are you going to choose? The safe way? The cautious way? Will you settle for mediocrity? Rick Antonson didn’t, John Furlong didn’t. We shouldn’t – none of us should. So this week, this month, this year, make sure you realize your own dreams – and remember, dream big!