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Olympic Winter Games 2022

Excerpt from Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

SENATORS’ STATEMENTS

Olympic Winter Games 2022

Hon. Marty Deacon: Honourable senators, I’d like to take this brief opportunity to share some wonderful stories of our Canadian athletes, coaches and their families representing our country at the Olympic Games.

First, I want to share with you one more outcome of the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. You may recall there was an IOC Refugee Olympic Team at the Tokyo Games. I am thrilled to share that some are now here in Canada as part of the IOC Refugee Athlete Support Programme, training for Paris 2024 and attending Sheridan College for the next three years.

As for these Olympic Games, we are on day six. Our 215 athletes and 85 coaches have faced a number of pandemic-related obstacles in preparation for some of the most important moments of their athletic careers. Each story is incredible. For athletes there for the first time, to athletes in their final games, all having done so much just to get to the start line in their field of play.

Imagine Liam Gill of Calgary, waking up to a call at home invited to get on a plane to replace a snowboard half-pipe icon, Derek Livingston, shifting to become an Olympic athlete in one moment. He, in his own words, was stoked to be the only Indigenous athlete on the snowboard team.

Our Olympic delegation includes six sets of siblings and four children of past Olympians. Regionally it includes one cross-country ski athlete who will be wildly cheered on from the Yukon, with a high of 57 athletes hailing from Quebec.

The pandemic has brought with it any number of obstacles, of course, with some members of Team Canada having lost their Olympic dreams before the Games began. But whether athletes are competing in arena events in Beijing or Yanqing, which is the home of alpine skiing, bobsled, luge and skeleton, or even further up the bubble train to the cold mountain-top village of Zhangjiakou for skiing and snowboarding events. Every member of Team Canada will give it their all. They will make us proud and unite us in our love for this country.

I remind you of one of my cherished moments of the many Games I had the opportunity to experience. Just before marching in the opening ceremonies, you see three large words on the wall; citius, altius, fortius; faster, higher, stronger.

In Tokyo, after 100 years, a fourth word was added; that is “together.” Let us be spectators together. I encourage you to learn the stories and engage with athletes from your community. And colleagues, for you, let these athletes inspire you to get moving inside or outside. Next week is National Health and Fitness Week, a time when I encourage you all to get outside and show Canada your moves in an effort to get people moving, get active and embrace the physical and mental health benefits that come with an active lifestyle. Thank you, meegwetch.

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