•••I don't think I've ever seen so many Canadians in red-and-white Maple Leaf t-shirts high-fiving each other than in the past few days in London, especially in and around Trafalgar Square. There's been much talk about the special quality of the Olympics that pulls people together, unlike other major sporting events. As Beata Bokrossy, mother to Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden, said, "It's the Olympics. It takes so much for these athletes to get here. Whether they win a medal or not, we're so proud that they've made it to the Olympics." My diary for Wednesday at the 2012 London Olympics looked something like this: • Get up early and hop into mini-van with Procter and Gamble's Olympic team -- along with Olympian Paula Findlay, her amazing mom Sheila and their entire family. •Drive by Windsor Castle on way to Men's Kayak Single finals. •Upon arrival at Dorney Lake, the Procter and Gamble team (the folks behind the Thank You Mom program) and I get big hugs and a huge welcome from Beata Bokrossy, warm and wonderful mom to Adam van Koeverden, who's competing in the event. • Watch not one but two Canadians ( Adam van Koeverden and Mark Oldershaw) compete - and win - Olympic medals, silver and Bronze respectfully. • Listen to the heart-tugging sounds of "Jerusalem" (a.k.a. theme music of "Chariots of Fire") just before the medals are presented to the Olympians. Another musical moment later in the day: standing outside Canada House near Trafalgar Square and hearing strands of "O Canada" being sung in English and French. • Share seat on bus ride back into London with Olympic mom Sheila Findlay who tells me about the hurdles of raising an Olympian. (She and Paula have been featured in the tear-inducing "Raising an Olympian" video which I've blogged about a few times. If you haven't - you absolutely must watch it. • Attend a special, but surprisingly laid-back ceremony at Canada Olympic House around 10 pm at night. The room is crowded with Team Canada athletes, their families and friends. (Canadian wine and beer are flowing. Definite party atmosphere.) Rousing welcome for Adam van Koeverden and Mark Oldershaw when they arrive, flanked by a couple Mounties. Some pride-filled images of the day: Warm wonderful Beata Bokrossy: [caption id="attachment_12601" align="aligncenter" width="330" caption="Doug O'Neill and Beata Bokrossy (mother of Olympian Adam Van Koeverden) at London 2012 Olympics"] [/caption]
Two proud moms of Olympians:[caption id="attachment_12599" align="aligncenter" width="330" caption="Two Proud Moms: Sheila Findlay,Beata Bokrossy"] [/caption]
I got to hang out for a while with two of the most supportive moms you could ever meet. Two words: practical and passionate. I'd say that about both Sheila Findlay, mother to triathlete Paula Findlay, and Beata Bokrossy, whose son Adam just won another Olympic medal on Wednesday.One thing I noticed about both of these women: they're not shy about speaking highly and describing how proud they are of their own children, but they're both equally aware and supportive of the other members of Team Canada. As Paula said, "We're all in this together. As moms to winning athletes, we know what it takes. We've got a shared experience. We all look out for each other's kids. It's part of what we do." Canadians on the Scoreboard
•••Sitting in the bleachers, then looking up to see the face of a winning Canadian athlete dominating the uber-sized screen at the end of the event was moving. I was bursting with pride as Adam van Koeverden accepted his medal, kissed it and waved to the crowd. These moments don't come along often enough. Incredibly proud dads [caption id="attachment_12607" align="aligncenter" width="330" caption="Paula Findlay's brother and father, Max"] [/caption]
•••There's been so much talk about the athletes, their coaches, their families - especially their moms. And then there are the proud, supportive Dads, like Max Findlay (father to Paula) and Joe van Koeverden (proud dad to Adam). A proud Dad moment: standing with a group of other Canadians at Dorney Lake, just after the kayaking event, and meeting Joe van Koeverden. He strikes me as somewhat shy - and filled with pride for his son. Joe did something any proud dad would do: he walked up and promptly opened up a photo album he'd created that was full of snap shots taken at various points in Adam's career -- as well well as those of other members of the Canadian kayaking team Down-to-earth Olympic heros [caption id="attachment_12624" align="aligncenter" width="330" caption="Medalist Adam van Koeverden at special ceremony at Canada Olympic House, London (Photo: Doug O'Neill)"] [/caption]
•••[caption id="attachment_12626" align="aligncenter" width="330" caption="First-time Olympic medalist Mark Oldershaw, whose grandfather competed at the 1948 London Olympics (Photo: Doug O'Neill)"] [/caption]
•••Mark Oldershaw's first Olympic win is a victory for his entire family. I learned that his grandfather competed in canoe-kayaking at the 1948 London Olympics. Both Mark and pal Adam van Koeverden dedicated a special thanks to Mark's dad Scott Oldershaw, who has coached both medal winners. Which Olympian makes you especially proud to be Canadian?