The event had an extra layer of emotion as Hayden announced his retirement to family and friends.
His fiancée, Nadina Zarifeh glowed as her very soon-to-be husband (the couple will marry in Lebanon in two weeks) expressed his love for her.
“Having my fiancée here has meant the world to me,” said Hayden. She is a major part of why I was able to get this medal. I owe her so much.”
Ryan Cochrane credited his parents for their role in his quest to better his Beijing bronze-medal performance in the 1,500m.
“This medal is as much for my parents as it is for me,” said Cochrane. “They committed to helping me find my excellence from provincial up to the Olympic level. They’re the ones who drove me to the pool everyday at 5:30 in the morning for ten years and supported me the whole time,” he said.
Ryan Cochrane’s coach, Randy Bennett said: “Ryan works very hard. He’s an unbelievable competitor. He deserves everything he gets.”
The Canadian Olympic Team’s Chef de Mission and swimming gold medallist Mark Tewksbury was there to congratulate the medal winners.
“There are five words that this team chose to represent themselves: proud, world class, unbreakable, relentless, and fierce. I think all five of them reflect the performances you guys gave in the pool. I’m proud to be your Chef de Mission,” said Tewskbury.
Both Cochrane and Hayden addressed the crowd of Canadians assembled at Canada Olympic House to celebrate with the swimmers.
“Giving your everything means being able to put 100% of yourself into something. Vancouver showed that we have the drive and the fight and we’ve carried that through to the summer Games,” said Cochrane.
“I’ve been dreaming about this since I was a little kid. When I was in grade 3, I said I wanted to be in the Olympics and I want to build robots. So, with this medal, I’m officially announcing my retirement, here with you guys. Thank you so much for always believing in me. I’m so proud to be Canadian. It’s been a wonderful ride,” said Hayden.
By Kristina Velan