8 gold, 5 silver, and 6 bronze- that is Canada’s medal count as of Tuesday morning. That tally has the Great White North sitting in third place in the Winter Olympic standings, behind only Norway and Germany.
For many in Canada, the Olympics are more than just an international athletics competition, they are a cultural event. National sports heroes are formed right before our eyes, each night (or early morning) in South Korea.
Tuesday evening represents that chance of national recognition for London native, Dave Duncan, as he competes for his first medal in Olympic competition in the Men’s Ski Cross event. Duncan, a 35 year old who now trains out of Golden, British Columbia has been to the Winter Games twice before, although he has never made the podium- suffering a broken collarbone during a training run in 2010.
Duncan honed his athletic craft at the London Ski Club, presently known as Boler Mountain, having lived just 5 minutes from the hill during his youth. The skier’s connection to London, and more specifically to Boler has the community anxiously excited for Tuesday night’s event. Greg Strauss of Boler’s Management Team reflects on Duncan’s journey from the Forest City to Canadian Olympian.
“He grew up here as a kid and spent a lot of time on the hills before becoming part of Canada’s national ski cross team. Now he’s back in the Olympics one last time. So we hope he does well.” – Greg Strauss, Boler Management Team
Strauss adds that the community is welcome to drop by Boler’s newly constructed 16,000 square foot lodge Tuesday night to view a live screening of Duncan’s event and cheer alongside fellow skiing enthusiasts and proud Londoners.
While there is no denying that national (and local) pride is a byproduct of the Olympics, some in the college community are using the inspiration of the Winter Games to actively pursue those activities best suited for frigid weather and falling snow.
Jacob McIsaac, a Carpentry and Renovations student, found an old PVC pipe on the side of the road and saw the opportinuty for an inexpensive way to practice his snowboarding skills from the comfort of his backyard. He positioned the pipe on the ground, secured it in a shell of packed snow, and built a ramp so it could be used as a grind rail for his snowboard in the tight quarters of his residential backyard.
“We’re students, so we don’t have the money to go to ski hills all the time. So we built this in our backyard so that we can have fun on weekends and weeknights without having to pay for lift tickets all the time.”- Jacob McIsaac, Carpentry and Renovations student
McIsaac cites the success of 2018 Olympic Bronze medalist, Mark McMorris in the Men’s Slopestyle as a key inspiration for following his snowboarding interests, despite the lofty costs generally associated with the sport.