GANGNEUNG — Roger Nurse walked into Canada House just in time to realize something big was going on.
It was Day 2 of the Winter Olympics and the father of an Olympian entered the popular hangout for Canadians just as the country was winning its first two medals of the Games.
Pyeongchang 2018 logo.
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The crowd was heartily celebrating the silver and bronze medals won by Max Parrott and Mark McMorris in men’s snowboard slopestyle, the first medals claimed by Canadians at Pyeongchang 2018.
“At any Olympics, that first medal is always something special,” the Hamilton resident said. “It was crazy in here and we were just trying to figure out what was going on and we looked up at the screen and saw that Canada won medals.”
Nurse and his wife, Michelle, were among about 100 people hanging out in Canada House Sunday. They were there partly to kill time before their daughter, Sarah, made her Olympic debut with the Canadian women’s hockey team Sunday night against Russia, but also to be part of the Canadian celebration.
“This is where it all takes place,” he said. “We’re going to be spending a lot of time here.”
Paul Miller of Calgary was enjoying a burger, some poutine and a frosty Canadian as he watched highlights of the slopestyle event on the big screen.
“It was so much fun to celebrate with our fellow Canadians,’ he said. “Everybody loves this stuff. I’m hoping to do something like this every day.”
While Parrott won the shinier medal, you could tell people at Canada House were thrilled for McMorris, who won his second career Olympic bronze medal despite suffering life-threatening injuries in a back-country crash less than a year ago.
McMorris, from Regina, had a broken jaw, left arm, ruptured spleen, a fractured pelvis, fractured ribs and a collapsed lung and was on a liquid diet for six weeks after a 10-day hospital stay.
He fell again during his final run on Sunday, dropping him down a notch or two on the podium, but made a major impression on his fellow Canadians.
“Wow, that kid is tough,” Miller said. “I was really happy to see him do so well.”
Many of the fans watched the day’s action from bleachers set up facing the big-screen TV, which are shaped like a Maple Leaf. Others simply mingled with athletes and their families, munched, sipped their beverages and looked to get a sense of what their fellow Canadians were feeling.
“It’s amazing to see the enthusiasm and how Canadians get behind our athletes to support them,” said Todd Nicholson, a former sledge hockey star who is Canada’s chef de mission for the Pyeongchang Paralympic Games.
“I know as an athlete who was on a podium many times, it’s a great honour to be able to do that. To be able to watch it on TV is just as special when you are surrounded by people from your own country. You feel like you’re at …read more