Reflecting on ups and downs of the Rio Olympics

The Games brings the world together, even just for a short time

 

There’s nothing quite like an Olympic Games to bring much of the world together. Whether its summer or winter, there can certainly be magical, exhilarating aspects to it, from the shimmering opening and closing ceremonies to the multiple victories. Of course, there is heartbreak too some athletes head home empty handed and devastated after pouring so much of themselves into their particular sport only to see their chance at a medal slip away.

The recent Rio games were no different from your typical Olympic Games. There were lots of concerns going in the Zika virus, violence, a lack of security in general, extremely polluted water in the adjacent waterways the list seemed endless.

But ultimately, the Rio Olympics seemed to go quite smoothly.

There were of course bumps along the way, but there is with virtually any Olympic Games. In Vancouver, there wasn’t enough snow or barely enough for some events during those winter Games back in 2010. In Beijing’s 2008 Games, horrendous air pollution threatened to cloud the event in the weeks and months prior. And with thousands of visitors, there are of course things that can’t be foreseen.

But thankfully, the crowds were safe from acts of terrorism, which sadly seems to be in the back of everyone’s minds these days when a multitude of people gather for a massive public event. And finally, the glittering closing ceremonies were indeed something that Rio and Brazil at large can be very proud of. Organizers pulled out the stops and crafted a spectacular send-off to these games which ultimately are so successful at really bringing people together to celebrate the world of athleticism. It’s two weeks where at least some differences can be laid aside and we can focus on something that at least to some degree promotes unity and celebration. The torch has now been passed to Japan for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

Tokyo was announced in September 2012 as the host for the next Summer Olympic Games.

As for the Olympic Games earlier this month, Canadian athletes walked away with 22 medals four gold, three silver and 15 bronze.

Locally, we also had much to be proud of. It was the culmination of years of hard work and practice for Central Alberta’s Chaim Schalk, as the 30-year-old beach volleyball player had the opportunity to compete in his first Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“The trip was pretty awesome. It was a pretty amazing experience. Everything involved was really cool and we felt so much support from everyone back home and everyone that was there with us. Just competing on that stage was really, really cool,” said Schalk, who grew up playing beach volleyball in his backyard at his family’s acreage near Red Deer.

He decided to officially pursue this side of the game in 2009, making the national team that year. He partnered with Saxton from Calgary in 2013, and the teammates moved to California to train when not competing on the world tour.

Schalk and Saxton fought their way through to the quarterfinals of the men’s beach volleyball tournament before being eliminated in straight sets by the duo of Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen from the Netherlands last week.

As for the Olympics as a whole, it is always a much anticipated event. It brings hope, positivity, and it is a nice distraction from the calamities that take up so much of the airwaves in today’s society.

 

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Most Read