08 FEB 2018: And you thought it was only Super Bowls that, for no apparent reason, played with the Roman Numeral thing! Well, with the opening of the XXIII Winter Olympiad in PyeongChang, South Korea, we get our second dose of X’s, L’s and I’s in less than a week.

There was apparently another Winter Games somewhere in Russia four years ago but it’s the games of 2010 in BC that were surely the most memorable in a very long time.

So, just to take you back, TAIT on TRAVEL, March 10th 2010 read as follows:

Oh Canada: What a couple of amazing weeks that was! While the closing ceremony’s giant inflatable beavers and scantily clad “Mountiettes” played to national stereotypes, one great myth was finally laid to rest. No longer will the world think that Canadians live up to their armpits in snow for 360 days of the year. Surprisingly, the white stuff (snow, that is) was the only thing in short supply at the games!

But if there was a dearth of snow, there was an overabundance of very special moments.

When “Sid the Kid” buried that puck in OT on Sunday evening, I was watching with my wife and boys in the crowded restaurant (okay, the bar) of a local Stamford Connecticut hockey rink, where one of my three goalie sons had just finished a game - they also won 3-2.

As all five of us ecstatically threw our arms in the air and let out one almighty family whoop - only then was I instantly very aware of the deafening silence all around us. For us it was one of those emotional moments when you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. For the surrounding throng of Team USA hockey fans, the only quandary was  whether or not to dampen our ardor with a Budweiser shower.

The hockey gold was truly a fairy tale ending. Joannie Rochette’s courage was nothing short of incredible. But for me the most magical and memorable moment of all had to be watching a beaming Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir belting out “Oh Canada” from the winners’ podium.

In an Olympics where we saw a Canadian skating for the USA and a Japanese skater competing for Russia, here was a picture-perfect pair who left no doubts just where their loyalties lay.

Perhaps one of the more droll aspects of the games was observing first hand the US media’s reaction to Canada’s record-setting gold medal haul. More than once NBC took to combining the Canadian medal-count with that of the USA usually accompanied with a bizarre commentary like, “Let’s just take a look at the North American medal total.”

”Gold Envy” notwithstanding, what transpired over the last couple of weeks goes way beyond medal counts. The long-term big winners here have to be Canada, Vancouver and BC, not necessarily in that order.

The Bay Street Bunch will be quick to point out that no Olympic games, summer or winter, has ever shown a net profit. Some European economists are even tracing the roots of the current economic meltdown in Greece back to the 2004 Athens Olympics - a fact that Mr. Harper has surely filed away for possible future regurgitation!

No matter what the direct economic impact projections might show - and they’re not particularly pretty - a $6 billion price tag for $2.4 billion in tourism revenues between 2008 and 2015 - I have never heard such enthusiasm expressed about any previous Olympic venue. The place, the people, everything except the too-warm weather, drew nothing but glowing reports.

If my own domestic survey is any indication of the post-Olympic effect then the population shift may be quite dramatic. No fewer than two of my five kids (that’s 40%) have suddenly decided they want to move to BC!

My daughter, who presently resides in Mahone Bay Nova Scotia, has decided to do her PHD at Simon Fraser in Burnaby. My son who’s a Connecticut-based graphic designer, just announced that he thinks he’d like to ply his trade in Vancouver - resumé available on request.

In case (about to be disbanded) Tourism BC wants more details, my survey showed that neither of them had seen the highly compelling TV spot featuring Sarah McLaughlin, Michael J. Fox Kim Catrall and a couple of passing killer whales. I did see this beautifully produced spot a number of times and, as a consequence, may actually arrive in Vancouver with the rest of the family before the first two get there!

So, congratulations to all concerned, from organizers to athletes to bellhops. You did yourselves, your country and a bunch of ex-pats proud.

Yes, it really was a very special couple of weeks eight years ago. Just to update the Tait story my daughter did indeed move to BC and has very happily lived on Bowen Island for about six years now.

So, while it’s kind of sad we won’t see NHL’ers taking part, you can be sure that Willie Desjardin’s Team Canada will give a terrific account of themselves and may even surprise a lot of people. With or without Crosby and co it’s still going to be an exciting winter games and (perversely) here’s hoping the Canadian medal count is so high that the US media again feels it must consider the “North American total”.

Oh Canada – Go Canada!


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David Tait

David Tait's insight and irrepressible humour give us an insider's take on the airlines and the industry in general. He doesn't pull his punches, and readers find his columns thoughtful, informative, amusing and infuriating – regardless, David's views on our industry are always original. 

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