Czeching into victory
It was Czech speed skater Martina Sablikova who raced her way to a gold win, but it was the Canadians who were feeling victorious.
Despite having been beat out of a golden win in the ladies speed skating 3,000m race, Canadian competitors Clara Hughes and Cindy Klassen were overjoyed with the crowd support. “The crowd brought a tear to my eye,” said an emotional Klassen. “I'm so thankful for the support they've given us.”
There was never a moment where the crowd was not waving flags or cheering on their personal favourites. The crowd fell into an unconscious wave of cheers with every athlete's metal step scraping the ice around the Richmond Oval rink.
They stood up with shouts of encouragement every time the athletes glided past their section, then the crowds would sit down and wait for the next time the athlete came their way. “That crowd was incredible,” Hughes said. “It just gave me so much. It was beautiful.”
Smiles had left a permanent mark on faces young and old across the arena during the two-and-a-half hour event. Eleven-year-old David Larson walked out of the arena with his parents and younger brother with one of those smiles. “It was so good,” he exclaimed. “It was really intense and really fun.”
Klassen, who had a rough run during the event, said it was important for young people to never give up on what they love. “Push yourself,” Klassen said. “Feel your support and use that.”
By Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter.