Emotions of Canada winning first medal of the Games

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Q & A with former Olympian Mike Adam

During the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Mike Adam will be discussing moments throughout the games, comparing them to his experiences at the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy. 

Mike Adam, the general manager of the Pictou County Wellness Centre, poses next to the large Canada flag in the Athletes Village during the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. 

As a member of the Canadian men’s curling team, Adam and the Newfoundland-based rink brought home gold.

With Mark McMorris winning Canada’s first medal in Sochi, a bronze in slopestyle, Adam answered questions about what the atmosphere was like when Canada won their first medal in Torino.


Q: Where were you when Canada won their first medal in Torino?  

A: We all felt a ton of pressure. It was the first time that as a nation, Canada had declared that it wanted to finish in the top three in total medals. The goal was to build on that as the host four years later in Vancouver.

We were still in the Village at that point and were packing up to move to Pinerolo where the curling venue was as we didn’t stay in the actual Village during the games. But once we heard the news that Jenn (Heil) won, it kind of got everyone pumped up a bit and we started to get going. It was good to come out of the gates so strong. There was a lot of “did you hear Jenn won,” high fives and cheerleading going on.


Q: How did you find out about the first medal win?

A: That was before Twitter and Facebook were popular – I had heard of neither and I didn’t even own a cell phone at that point. However, one thing that was pretty neat was that Bell gave every athlete a cellphone with no restrictions or bills just so we could keep in touch with everyone, there and back home. 

We all had these flip phones - it was 2006 remember - with the Canadian Olympic logo on it. We were able to keep in touch with everyone that way through texts and phone calls. The day after the Opening Ceremony Jenn Heil won Canada’s first medal of the games – and a gold no less. It spread through the Village pretty quickly.

In the lobby of each apartment building was a Team Canada info area with medal counts, people competing that day, general updates, info and that sort of thing. There was a large calendar there with paper medals they would tack up whenever someone won one.


Q: What was it like knowing you were part of the larger team, a nation, that won that medal?

A: We finally get to see highlights of Jenn getting her medal and hearing the anthem, seeing the flag, seeing her emotions, seeing the medal for the first time – it really has a way of getting you focused. You want to do everything you can to be in that exact same spot one day.

The mood amongst Team Canada would rise and fall as athletes competed. On a big medal day the excitement was sky high and the enthusiasm and cheerleading was there. On the other hand if a heavy favourite fell or lost out you could sort of feel everyone lament that loss and feel for the athlete.

During those three weeks you see people at their highest point in their life and others at their lowest. It’s truly a wide range of emotions you see and go through while at the Olympics. You definitely fell like a larger team. It’s no longer a collection of individual teams. We are all one at that point.


Q: How were athletes celebrating the medal first medal?

A: It was a lot of cheering, but staying focused too. Jenn still had other disciplines and it was early in the games. It was good to get the first one, but we still had a ton to do if we were going to set an all-time best Canadian performance and set the stage for Vancouver’s athletes. Each time a new medal count was updated, it was congratulations, cheering, high fives and encouragement to keep going.

Organizations: Team Canada, Olympics

Geographic location: Canada, Vancouver, Torino Pinerolo

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