The confetti rained down and a sellout crowd roared its approval at the group of athletes beaming at centre stage.
The announcers waxed poetic on what a life-changing moment this could be and how much it meant to the competitors.
The event, shown on prime-time television last week, wasnít the Grey Cup or the Stanley Cup Finals ó it was the announcement of the American gymnastics team heading to London to compete in the 2012 Olympic Summer Games.
It was a star-making moment, something that would help make anyone watching care about the athletes and want to watch the Games to see how they fare. Meanwhile, in Canada, we announced our gymnastics team after a small meet in Gatineau, Que. The story elicited a four-paragraph story in the Globe and Mail and a short mention on SportsCentre.
After a record-setting showing at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, itís disappointing to see just how low the excitement level seems to be in Canada as the Summer Games approach. Qualifying events are regularly slotted on television at the same time as infomercials for vegetable peelers, if theyíre even shown at all.
In fact, itís difficult for me to even name five athletes representing Canada in London. Itís sad to say, but Canadians seem more enthralled with free agency in the NHL and the opening of the CFL season to really care.
These athletes deserve our attention and support. After all, weíre the ones supporting them through our tax dollars. It should be up to the national broadcaster, TSN, to promote the Games and help us learn their stories. For as much flak as CBC received over the years for various reasons, the CBC always did a terrific job of covering the Olympics. With TSN, itís almost like the Olympics comes after hockey, football, the European soccer championships and curling.
Some people may say that Canadians are more suited for the Winter Games and I agree, but that is no excuse for us to all but ignore the Summer Games. Growing up, the Summer Games were so fun to follow because these were sports you could do in your backyard with very little equipment. Running, jumping and swimming are activities people of all ages can do and seeing someone from your own country excel is inspiring to future generations.
So enjoy the Summer Olympics, CanadaÖ even if you may have no idea whatsoever who is representing out country.