Nothing says Olympic Closing Ceremonies more than inflatable giant beavers, but that is what the Canadians left the world to remember. What could be a nightmare for Caddyshack's Carl Spackler, the giant inflatable beavers wished the world the best as well as large immitation Canadian Mounties, hockey players and a moose, the two weeks the world came together will be remembered for many tragic and glorious story lines.
There were concerns on the day of the Opening Ceremonies after a Luge athlete from the Republic of Georgia died on a practice run coming around the final turn on the world's fastest track. But there will be many other images that I will remember.
Heather Kearney of the United States on the Moguls. There were few who thought the U.S. could pull off a gold medal in this event. Many Canadians were expecting one of their own to bring home the first gold on home soil. Kearney had an outstanding run and her first comment after completing and knowing she was golden was, "I just wanted to be part of an Olympic montage." How refreshing to hear a world-class athlete who achieved a life-long dream to just be included in an Olympic Highlight Video.
The U.S. Hockey Team. The favorites heading into the games were the home Canadians and Russians. Many thought Team USA would compete, advance to the medal round, but fight for the bronze. The Americans gained many fans once they took on Canada in pool play. An early goal :41 in set the tone and Team USA went onto upset the Canadians and send two neighboring countries experience very opposite emotions. The Canadians got another shot at Team USA in the Gold Medal game, and it was another classic battle which the Americans sent into OT with less than a minute to play in regulation. A Sidney Crosby goal in the extra period sent the entire country of Canada into the streets to celebrate Olympic gold. A disappointment for the Americans, but it generated more interest for hockey than any NHL Stanley Cup final would in the states. All americans got behind the young US team and became hockey fans, if for only a couple of weeks.
The last memory of the last two weeks comes from my son. While the 2008 games in Beijing took place, he was a four-year old who kept a close watch on Michael Phelps, became excited about the Birds Nest and found out a little more about the city of Beijing. In 2010, he was now excited to watch Apollo Ono, Shanni Davis, Luge, Four Man Bobsled and anything else Olympic. He learned a little more about the world around him, as well as the one he lives in. He now is looking forward to the games of 2012 in London.