Canada Olympic House officially opens

Cheers and tears filled the grand salon at the emotionally charged official opening of Canada Olympic House (COH) Friday.

Athletes, family, friends, and media gathered together to be welcomed into Canada’s “home away from home” during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

After singing a heartfelt ‘O Canada’, the Canadian Tenors brought members of the synchronized swimming team to tears with their rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

Two-time Olympic champion and bronze medallist speed skater Catriona Le May Doan called COH spectacular.

“It truly is a home away from home, a place for Canadians to gather together and celebrate such a special 17 days,” she said.

2010 gold medallist Freestyle skier Alex Bilodeau agreed.

“We have not only a great location, but a great building, it’s nice to see that we have such a nice house for family and friends of the athletes.”

With only a few hours to go until the London 2012 opening ceremonies, excitement and anticipation is building at COH as family and friends begin to make themselves at home.

Eight-year-old Nicholas Kluftinger “can’t wait to see his big cousin Kristina Vaculik compete in artsistic gymnastics.”

Alexandre Despatie’s mother Christiane said: “Alexandre is always very worried about us, but I tell him we’re in very good hands at Canada Olympic House. This is where we will laugh, relax, and recharge our batteries.”

By Kristina Velan