This is my first Mission Team experience at a Games and as I sit here on day 9 of competition I realized that over the past three days I have learned a serious lesson.
Games go by fast.
What a flurry over the past few days! I have been from venue to venue, throughout the day and into the evening. It is interesting that in times like these, when there is so much energy, positivity and passion surrounding you, it is easy not to notice things that might be very apparent in everyday life. For example the time, what day it is, how much sleep you got, when you last ate…haha, pretty much all those regular habits that we take for granted back in reality. During Games time, this all goes out the window. You can basically live off the positive energy.
Last night was special. Chat with Champions, one of the Culture and Education Program’s staples, featured a talk from 4-time Canadian Olympian Charmaine Crooks, as well as 4-time medalist Angela Ruggiero. These women are leaders in sport for many reasons, they are also incredible speakers. One of the nicest moments was when our rhythmic gymnasts all stood up in unison to ask a question, they introduced themselves one by one, (by the way there isn’t one of them in the triple digits of weight), and then said, “Can you sing us a song?” In addition to being heavily involved with worldwide sport, an amazing athlete and business woman, as well as just a down to earth nice person, Charmaine can sing! But not without a show! She invited the girls onto the stage, and live web streaming across the world, our five miniature back up dancers doo wopped while Charmaine sang. It was classic.
In the past few days I have seen swimming, athletics, gymnastics, diving, basketball and canoe/kayak. Sometimes as many as three sports in one evening! I love watching live sport so much. I am always so excited to go and cheer on our Canadian athletes.
One thing has caught my attention. The Youth Olympic Games are about youth athletes. But the Games are powered and supported by other young people, and this makes the experience authentic, and important. There is a Young Reporters program, where talented young journalists have the opportunity to develop, learn and gain experience. Many of the purple shirted volunteers at the Games are young, including announcers at events, and venue marshals. There are of course the Young Ambassadors, who are everywhere. Young people are the fabric of these Games, and it is amazing to feel and see the special results that take place, on the field of play and surrounding it.
I can tell you this, this Games has proven that our generation has the potential to sculpt a better world. There are athletes from 204 NOCs, there are Singaporeans, there are Young Reporters/Ambassadors, there are other volunteers from around the world. Together, we are the Youth Olympic Games, and together I hope we can prove that we are the future, that we can overcome the challenges in front of us. Because there are many. I have more to say about this, but for now, I will leave it at that.
A few days remain, and I go to sleep each night, giddy with anticipation for the day to come. Tonight is no different.