I wanted to write this while the memories are still fresh and I can really express how I am after my time in Singapore.
Due to jet lag, (that has been kind to me so far), I am awake at 11 PM and I feel as if it is the prime of the day. Therefore, I am taking advantage of this, to write some thoughts about the first Youth Olympic Games.
I have wondered about how to start this post. I have tried to imagine many different beginnings, but when I run out of routes I realize that I am just attempting to discover an alternative to the way I really want to start. This is because it may not be the most exciting intro, but it is how I feel I can most authentically encapsulate the YOG, and I am at a loss of how to do better.
I want to gush about the people that I met.
Let me start with my fellow Young Ambassadors, all 29 of you. You are incredible people. I learned something from every single one of you. And with a handful, I had some of the times of my life. I suppose now you know there’s more to me than frozen winters, more elegant Canadian gifts than maple syrup and that my French is actually alright, despite not being Quebecois. From you, (among much else), I know that Islam has many faces, to be aware of the 1, 2 or 3 kiss greeting, that so many things are possible and of course, laughter is never out of place, in any language.
Of course, there were the Canadian athletes, all 60 of them, each with their different tools, swagger, style and charisma. It was a delight to wake up every morning and see all the faces, so poised, relaxed and smiling. I swear that I’ve never felt attached to the performances of so many athletes all at once. And I enjoyed every minute of that attachment, even if it meant disappointment or occasional heartbreak. There was too much joy to let any of that be a mark on the experience.
I truly believe that we are the product of our experiences. The texture of our surroundings, the impressions of our environments and the slow shaping that comes from our reality. This is never more apparent than in a Games situation, where people from all around the world are made to become neighbours, separated by the floors of buildings instead of borders and seas or culture and language.
It’s peaceful there. It’s friendly. We traded pins, we spoke about home, we embraced after only hours apart. It didn’t matter at all what sport, what family name, what race. We only cared about heart and soul. It kills me to think that it only lasted 12 days. I wish it could be longer. I wish that at the very least we will always remember how we were for these days in August. I hope that the shimmer of Singapore 2010 will stay buried somewhere, in everyone’s being, and in times when our humanity is tested, in whatever manner, we draw upon that light, and allow it to spread into the world again.
So I will thank everyone who made this experience special, including an amazing Canadian mission team, Carol, Brian, Dory, Dinah, Chris, Riley and Emily. The International Olympic Committee for envisioning the Youth Olympic Games and the Singaporeans for executing them beautifully.
There were many objects tied to the Games. The CEP booths, the venues, the dining hall, the transport cars.
In the end it was the energy and spirit of people that made Singapore 2010.
I thought this might be a finale, but I feel like it is only a start, to something that I hope will continue forever and ever, and it most certainly will, for me.