Or at least, they were. The cow bells are silent now. Yup, the Paralympics are over, and the last few days have felt very flat and empty. It is so, so sad to cycle past City Hall and see the empty poles from which the Olympic and Paralympic flags have flown so proudly for the last four years.
But on Saturday, I managed to get to one last event before the end! And thanks largely to Mermaid's fabulous guest post about the ski jump and luge events she attended during the Olympics, I was adamant that my last event should be in Whistler. My friend and I originally had tickets for the super G slalom - men's and women's standing class, but they had to rejig the schedule based on the latest weather forecasts. Our tickets changed from the original event to slalom - men's and women's standing class, and finally to the super combined (super G + slalom) - men's and women's standing, sitting, and visually impaired classes. We were extremely happy with the change; as you'll see from the video below, our day was defined by variety!
As if Alpine skiing wasn't dangerous enough...
We had an absolutely fantastic day in the warm Whistler sunshine, and think our husbands were fools to go skiing instead, despite their enthusing about the "EPIC!!!" conditions*. And we saw Canada win a bronze, a silver, and a GOLD!!!** The latter was the fifth gold medal of the games won by my new hero, Lauren Woolstencroft. I have nothing bur respect for every Paralympian, but Lauren Woolstencroft stands out even in this exalted company. She was born with no legs below the knee, and no left arm below the elbow, and competes in the standing class, along with every other sighted Paralympian who skis in the standing position. And she doesn't just win, she totally obliterates the field. She ended up winning the event we saw by 12 seconds. 12!!! That just isn't supposed to happen!
I sang the Canadian anthem at her ceremony with more pride than ever before.
I may have cried.
Anyway, here's the video. Sorry for the fuzzy bits; the bright sunshine and glare from the snow were not very kind to my poor little Flip Video.
*we planned to join them on the Sunday, but it was raining on the bottom half of the mountain, and all the lifts above freezing level were closed due to high winds. They did open later, but the price of a half-day pass is almost the same as a full day, and it just didn't seem worth it. This is the first time I've ever been to Whistler during the winter or spring and not skied, but it was totally worth it for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of going to the Paralympics.
**you'll notice that all three of our medals were won by women. This was a recurring theme of the Olympics and Paralympics, with women accounting for a majority of our medals in both tournaments, but especially in the Paralympics. Canadian women KICK ASS!