During each Olympic Games, Canadians from every corner of the country put their national pride on full display, cheering on every Team Canada athlete as they all make us proud in their own distinct ways.
Some do it by winning a medal, while others make an impact with their story or their sportsmanship.
From sharing an Olympic moment with a sibling to reaching the podium after a traumatic injury to scoring an epic gold medal-winning goal, here are just a few Olympic memories that have made us all so proud to be Canadian since our country first hosted the Games at Montreal 1976.
You could hear cheers from every home and sports bar across the country when Crosby scored the “Golden Goal” at Vancouver 2010. A moment engrained in fans from coast to coast as we all let out a scream and a sigh of relief watching him get the shot.
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada win ice dance gold at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games on February 20, 2018. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/COC)
We’re not crying, you’re crying. The duo, who had skated together for 20 years, shared their last competitive dance in 2018. The emotional ending made them the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history, and we are lucky to call them Canadians.
Alex Bilodeau – Vancouver 2010
The Bilodeau brothers stole the hearts of all Canadians at Vancouver 2010. Their bond was felt by everyone when Alex spoke about his biggest supporter, his brother, Frédéric, after winning Canada’s first ever Olympic gold on home soil. Throughout everything, the love that the two brothers showed throughout Alex’s Olympic career is priceless.
In his Olympic debut, Igali made all of us at home so proud as he became Canada’s first Olympic wrestling champion. It wasn’t just seeing him on top of the podium that made this moment so great; it was the moment he had with the Canadian flag after the match.
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. Daniel Igali a remporté la toute première médialle d’🥇 d’#ÉquipeCanada en lutte, à Sydney 2000! . Born in Nigeria, @danieligali became a 🇨🇦 citizen in 1998. He claimed refugee status after competing at the 1994 Commonwealth Games. . His reaction after winning 🥇 is forever in our ♥️🤗 . Qui peut oublier ce moment, où il a célébré son amour et sa fierté incroyable pour le Canada? ❤️ . Né au Nigéria, il est devenu citoyen canadien en 1998. . 📽: IOC | #BlackHistoryMonth
Igali who was born in Nigeria, showed his appreciation for Canada, dancing around the flag in celebration before kneeling down and kissing the flag. It made us all a little emotional and proud to have Igali represent the country that welcomed him as a refugee.
As incredible a comeback story as we’ve ever seen. Just 10 weeks out from the Games, Laumann’s right leg was shattered in an on-water accident and she was told by doctors that she may never compete again. But despite her diagnosis, undergoing multiple surgeries, and needing a cane to walk, Laumann competed in Barcelona and against all odds won bronze.
Joannie Rochette – Vancouver 2010
It’s hard not to get choked up when thinking about this moment. Just two days after her mother passed away, Rochette decided to skate in the short program. As the whole country stood behind her in support, Rochette would go on to win bronze. A powerful moment for Canadians and one Rochette knows her mom would have been proud of.
Don’t know about you, but our hearts skipped a beat watching De Grasse sneak up on the fastest man in the world. The 200m semifinal finish between De Grasse and Usain Bolt was one we won’t soon forget, after Bolt light-heartedly scolded him for the unwanted surprise. The fact that De Grasse returned from Rio with three medals in hand, well that was the cherry on top.
A moment that gave us all chills – certainly not because it was cold in Sochi – but because we saw two sisters sharing the podium together. The gold-silver finish was historic and emotional, not just for the family, but for everyone.
Mark Tewksbury – Barcelona 1992
Watching Tewksbury in the 100m backstroke final, you couldn’t be blamed for thinking that maybe gold wasn’t in the books for Canadian swimming that year. He was in the middle of the pack off the start and a half a body-length behind the leader with half a pool length left.
But in the last 15m, he played some impressive catch-up that got us on our feet, jumping and cheering when he touched first with an Olympic record. The underdog became the victor and his splash celebration is one that fans have not forgotten.
Our neck would be tired if we had to carry around five medals from one Olympic Games. Called the “Woman of the Games” by then-IOC president, Jacques Rogge, Klassen was no stranger to the podium at Turin 2006. We all watched in awe as she skated to a gold, a silver and three bronze medals – the best ever single-Games performance by a Canadian Olympian.
Sprint Stars – Atlanta 1996
“If you’re a Canadian, you have to love Saturday nights in Georgia.” Broadcaster Don Wittman shared our sentiments after first witnessing the 100m world record by Donovan Bailey, and then the following weekend, the gold medal victory by Bailey, Glenroy Gilbert, Bruny Surin, and Robert Esmie in the 4x100m relay. The 1995 World Champions had been underestimated by many, but they handed the Americans the defeat at their home Games.
The kayaking duo reached the top of the podium in the K-2 1000m, a moment that every Canadian athlete dreams of. While standing there, Morris, a member of the Mohawk nation from Kahnawake, held an eagle feather after receiving his medal – a symbol that honours his Canadian heritage and his grandfather who inspired him as an athlete.
Women’s Swimming – Rio 2016
Rio 2016 ended a 20-year Olympic medal drought for Canadian women’s swimming – and in a very big way. Six medals, the most won by Canadian swimmers since 1984, were highlighted by Penny Oleksiak’s gold in the 100m freestyle. Two of her historic four medals came in the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays, as she and Taylor Ruck became the first Olympic medallists ever born in the 2000s. Not to be forgotten were the backstroke bronzes by Kylie Masse and Hilary Caldwell.
Making it to the Olympic Games comes with a lot of time and sacrifice, which rings true for Huynh. Watching Huynh, the daughter of refugees from Vietnam, win Canada’s first women’s wrestling gold medal was special, but even more so was her reaction on the podium. We don’t think there was a dry eye anywhere as we watched her cry as the Canadian flag was raised and the anthem played.
Justin Wadsworth – Sochi 2014
In true Canadian fashion, cross-country skiing coach Justin Wadsworth didn’t hesitate to help an opponent. When Russian skier Anton Gafarov broke one of his skis after a fall, Wadsworth rushed over to give him a spare he’d been carrying – an act of compassion and sportsmanship that made us super proud.
Sara Renner – Turin 2006
Canada was on the receiving end of a similar gesture eight years earlier – and responded with a pretty sweet thank you. When Renner’s pole broke, a medal seemed like a fleeting dream. But then Norwegian coach Bjørnar Håkensmoen handed over one of his, giving Renner and teammate Beckie Scott the boost they needed to win team sprint silver. In recognition of his act of kindness, Canadians sent Håkensmoen five tons of maple syrup – equal to over 7000 cans.
When Lemieux spotted a couple of Singaporean competitors in trouble after their boat capsized, he didn’t worry about holding onto his second-place finish. He left his race to rescue the pair. He may not have won gold, silver or bronze, but was awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for sportsmanship.
Mark McMorris – PyeongChang 2018
Fans may have been more nervous to watch McMorris compete at PyeongChang 2018 than he was. After a back country snowboarding accident in 2017 that resulted in multiple injuries, including a ruptured spleen, collapsed lung, and fractured pelvis, his future was unsure. What made his recovery story even more amazing was watching him stand on the podium, receiving his second straight slopestyle bronze.
Jon Montgomery – Vancouver 2010
What better way to celebrate an unexpected victory than with a nice cold beer? That’s exactly what Montgomery did after winning gold in skeleton. In all honesty, we don’t blame him—we too would probably have a few beers to celebrate if we were Olympic champs.
Greg Joy – Montreal 1976
Joy became the Canadian hero from the first Olympic Games here at home. The high jumper won silver on the second last day of the Games – the first Canadian high jumper to reach the Olympic podium since Los Angeles 1932. The moment in the rain was immortalized for years in CBC’s nightly “O Canada” sign-off, allowing Canadians to relive it over and over.