Coming back to Canada after the Olympics has been transformational for me. I was stunned by the overwhelming support from fellow Canadians across the country. Just today, I was talking to a neighbour in my condo building about the Olympic experience and what it meant to him watching as a proud Canadian; he said it was good for the soul. Those are good words to describe how coming home has been for me. The time between crossing the finish line to now has been the ride of a lifetime. I spent a week after the closing ceremonies with my family in Portugal, then flew back to Ontario for a couple weeks before coming back to Victoria. During that time I had the chance to reconnect with old friends from high school. I got to see my best friend in Ottawa who somehow managed to get tickets to that Olympic final and was there with his dad when I crossed the finish line -both of them only able to see me for a few minutes after the race before I had to go do media stuff. I got to drop the puck at my home town Cobourg Cougars’ home opener, throw the first pitch (a 30 mph sinking fastball) at a Blue Jays game, and do a ceremonial kick off at the home opener of my former football team, the McMaster Marauders. One of the absolute highlights of the whole Olympic experience for me was having the chance to get to know many more Canadian Olympic athletes from all sports at the celebration tour from Ottawa to Toronto last week. We are represented so well by character people across all sports. I feel like the grinch who’s heart grew three sizes that day. You go from a lazer focus and, frankly, selfish existence to sharing one of the best moments of your life with so many people. It’s hard not to walk around in wonder at it all even more than a month after the Olympics ended. It is nice to be a relaxed human being with no pending test of some kind (at least not this month). Last Wednesday I dropped my son off at school, had cookies and tea with my neighbour, researched volunteer opportunities, then prepared a casserole for a dinner party that evening -now that is the life! No competing fiercely under the crack of the Spracklen whip -necessary though it was. The only training I’ve been doing is an old football workout we used to do called Marcello’s Madness (named after our strength coach). It’s a circuit of sprints with jump squats, pushups, situps, etc mixed in. That’s hard enough for me for now. Once the tendonitis in my fingers subsides, I will get back out on the water in the single.
After the pitch at the Jays game!