Dear Canadian friends and colleagues,
Last evening just before midnight here in Paris, when that third Canadian goal came rocketing into the US cage - and once I stopped sobbing and gnashing my teeth - it occurred to me that it was just about the greatest way in which this year's Olympic Games could have come to an end: with a bang and certainly not a whimper.
Vancouver 2010. Who would have ever guessed what this might mean for so many? What a splendid and truly international event, how important for a needful world at a time in which the Olympic ideal has just about been entirely lost, and what a wonderful present that you Canadians have given yourselves and your country.
There are times when those of us who care and keep our eye on you feel uncertain about whether Canada is in fact there at all. I guess now we know.
As I reflect on all that has taken place over these last several years to bring this about, what strikes me as possibly the main lesson for the rest of the world to glean from your experience, is the extent to which all those involved combined high ambition and real modesty (a great Canadian attribute from which we just to your south have much to learn).
You accomplished this through hard work day after day and more than once in the face of adversity, and a capacity for quiet teamwork in the face of these unanticipated twists and turns that turned out to be exactly what was needed to face all of those unexpected challenges - including perhaps most famously our second goal, the one I believed was the beginning of the end for your hockey team. (So much for my self-proclaimed ability to foresee future events.)
I share these words with you on this morning after, because I feel very strongly that the qualities you have shown in this event are the same ones that are so much needed in the face of the enormous challenges of climate, sustainable development and social justice that face us all.
If I had one thing to ask as far as your performance before these challenges is concerned, it would be that you Canadians might perhaps do us the favor of being just a tad less modest when you are doing important things to show the way for others, eh?
Now, what is your next act?
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