Olympic Speech by John Furlong Gets Gold

BY Per Bristow

Tonight through the magic of television we visit the living rooms of the world to tell our story. And as we do, we invite people everywhere to share and experience, even if just for a few moments, what it feels like to be a proud Canadian. As you, the best Winter Olympic athletes of all time, enter the arena prepared for you here in Canada to compete in the honour and glory of sport.

Seizing the moment to inspire the youth of the world through your heroic efforts, you carry with you the hopes and the dreams of so many.

You are role models for our children - heroes, giants, human champions, the best ever. You are living proof that men and women everywhere are capable of doing great good, and that in life as it is in sport, we should always give our best and never, ever give up.

You are our beacon of hope in a world so much in need of peace, healing, unity, generosity and inspiration. Youth the world over aspire to be just like you. You compete with such bravery, conviction and pride. At these Games you now have the added burden to shine and be united around your fallen colleague Nodar. May you carry his Olympic dream on your shoulders and compete with his spirit in your hearts.

Many thousands have made tonight and the days ahead possible, but the spirit and soul of all 33 million Canadians has been sewn into the fabric of these Winter Olympic Games. This journey has not been about the few but rather the many. All Canadians Aboriginal Canadians, New Canadians, English and Francophone Canadians.

And the myriad of cultures, micro-cultures, languages and peoples that make Canada Canada. And tonight the longest domestic torch relay in Olympic history ends in this stadium after an epic, unforgettable journey of discovery across a land visually blessed, rich in history and profoundly human.

The Olympic Flame has touched many millions and prompted spontaneous, peaceful celebration. Reminding us all that those values that unite and inspire the best in us we must never abandon. As the Olympic Cauldron is lit, the unique magic of the Olympic Games will be released upon us.

Magic so rare that it cannot be controlled by borders. The kind of magic that invades the human heart touching people of all cultures and beliefs. Magic that calls for the best that human beings have to offer. Magic that causes the athletes of the world to soar and the rest of us to dream.

Tonight, here, in the glow and wonder of the Flame, we can all aspire to be Olympian. From whatever continent you have come we welcome you to Canada, a country with a generous heart. We love that you are here. You are among good friends. Vous etes parmis vos amis.

We are honoured to be received into so many hearts and homes all over the world this night. And we aspire to leave you with breathtaking memories to last a lifetime. Let us all be reminded that the world is indeed watching. Hoping. Cheering. If you listen, you can almost hear the voices.

Through our example tonight and over the 16 days to come our children will begin to dream and believe in what is possible. Lives of great significance begin with a spark, a nudge, a gesture. Together let us touch as many as we can, while we can.

It’s Valentine’s Day weekend and yesterday was also the opening of the Winter Olympics. If you aspire to anything in life, whether it be artistic, athletic, personal, professional, educational, spiritual, or any other passion that stirs your soul, it was hard not to get inspired listening to John Furlong speak last night at the opening ceremony of the Olympics.  Here's why…

The Olympics started off with a horrific tragedy during a Luge practice run, which resulted in the loss of young Nodar Kumaritashvli from the country Georgia..

The Ceremony had already been a beautiful display of art and music, educating us about the history and bringing together the many aboriginal nations that inhabit Canada. And the ceremony became even more potent with the many reverences in honor of Nodar Kumaritashvli, such as when the audience stood up honoring the small delegation from Georgia as they entered the stadium.

While the word love was never mentioned, on display these coming  weeks are people who truly love what they do, and fearlessly do what they love.

I give John Furlong the first gold for his excellent performance.  Here is his speech:

With Jack Poole and Nodar Kumaritashvli in our hearts, and standing on the shoulders of every Canadian, I commit that the men and women of Vancouver 2010, our partners and our friends, are ready to deliver the performance of a lifetime.

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