Home games: What it’s like to become a champion in Canada
On Saturday afternoon it was announced that a potential Toronto 2024 Olympic Games bid will be explored.
It’s interesting: For athletes the most memorable ‘thing’ about a home games is so immediately visceral and intimate. Some tell of ‘goosebumps’ from the thundering crowds, others spill with emotion over friends from their hometown finally seeing them race.
What’s for sure is having a major games at home has an indelible impact on those who live it.
Ellie Black – Artistic Gymnastics
“It’s spectacular, to come here in front of the home crowd, to be able to hit my best competition, I think ever, is unreal. To finish off with the gold is incredible, just having the whole of Canada behind me feels amazing.”
Damian Warner – Decathlon
“The decision was tough to do the decathlon here but I’m extremely glad I did it because to be able to share that with my family and friends and the people that supported me is something that I always thought would happen but I’m glad it was able to happen here.”
Jen Kish – Rugby
“The fans have been great, it’s like that 13th man on the field with us. It’s a great experience.”
Ryan Cochrane – Swimming
“I’m the only one swimming the race but I think I have so much support from across the country that that’s going to make the difference.”
Hugo Houle – Road Cycling
“I’m from a small town in Quebec I have 10 people from my village they did the trip. It’s great to give those feelings to all the people around me who support me. Thanks to all of them because without them I’m nothing.”
Kia Nurse – Basketball
“I just tried to not think about it. I just tried to play unconsciously and that’s when I’m usually at my best.”
Tory Nyhaug – BMX
“I can’t even describe it. My parents are in the stands, and to win this on home soil is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. We’ve had so much fun this week at home. I didn’t feel any extra pressure from it, I knew they were supportive. I knew no matter what my parents were gonna give me a hug at the end of the race. I’m so happy they were here.”
Emily Overholt – Swimming
“It was an amazing feeling swimming on home soil it’s just…it’s so unreal to have the whole crowd cheering for you and I really wanted to win the gold.”
Melissa Bishop – Athletics (800m)
“I knew the crowd was going to be loud no matter what, so I was just trying to put myself in a good position to be able to run in and let the crowd do its work, and let the training come through. I’m really happy it worked out. It’s so nice to win a gold medal at home.”
Kelita Zupancic – Judo
“It feels surreal. Words can’t describe it. I’m so proud to be Canadian. I’m proud to represent my family, friends, coaches, teammates, everyone.”
Some of the champions here at TO2015 say home helps, a whole lot. While still very preliminary, if successful, Canada’s athletes may get to compete at home once more at a major international event, within the next decade.