A fine finish

When Simon Whitfield found out he would be carrying Canada’s flag into the Opening Ceremonies, he said his “thoughts turned to all of the incredibly talented Canadian athletes on this team.”

“It’s a privilege,” he said. “To be the one who will lead this amazing team of Canadian athletes who have dedicated their lives to achieving their Olympic dream.”

Whitfield’s own Olympic dream was stopped short in a crash during his fourth Olympic triathlon. But from that crash surfaced a proud message of perseverance and pride. From that crash came a rallying point, another reason to push harder. It was an opportunity to build a stronger team.

Days later, at Coventry Stadium, the women’s soccer team made history with the first Summer Team medal since 1936, a bronze. It was one of many examples of perseverance pride and excellence Canadian athletes showed on the 2012 Olympic stage.

Whitfield was right. It is an amazing team.

“I thought about Christine Sinclair,” Whitfield said before the Games started. “What a champion. I love her. She’s fiercely competitive. Her team is fiercely competitive.”

On Sunday evening, it was Christine Sinclair’s turn to carry Canada’s flag. The soccer team captain and international star said this nod is the greatest honour of her athletic career.

“This has been the most amazing team I’ve ever been a part of,” said Sinclair. “It’s been moving to watch fellow teammates in tears as they’re witnessing fellow Canadian athletes’ successes and — to witness the connection that this team has.”

With the Closing Ceremony flag, Sinclair carries a new connection, with new teammates, with new Olympic dreams to Sochi to Rio and beyond – and with 34 million Canadians.

That is an amazing team, indeed.