Still riding the Olympic Games wave

Well, it’s all over for another four years. After all of the concerns about the Zika virus, violence, a lack of security in general, polluted water in the adjacent waterways – the list seemed endless – the Rio Olympics seemed to go quite smoothly.

There were of course bumps along the way, but there is with virtually any Olympic Games. In Vancouver, there wasn’t enough snow – or barely enough for some events during those winter Games back in 2010. In Beijing’s 2008 Games, horrendous air pollution threatened to cloud the event in the weeks and months prior. And with thousands of visitors, there are of course things that can’t be foreseen.

But thankfully, the crowds were safe from acts of terrorism, which sadly seems to be in the back of everyone’s minds these days when a multitude of people gather for a massive public event. And finally, the glittering closing ceremonies were indeed something that Rio and Brazil at large can be very proud of.

Organizers pulled out the stops and crafted a spectacular send-off to these games – which ultimately are so successful at really bringing people together to celebrate the world of athleticism. It’s two weeks where at least some differences can be laid aside and we can focus on something that at least to some degree promotes unity and celebration. The torch has now been passed to Japan for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

Tokyo was announced in September 2012 as the host for the next Summer Olympic Games.

As for the Olympic Games earlier this month, Canadian athletes walked away with 22 medals – four gold, three silver and 15 bronze.

Locally, we also had much to be proud of. It was the culmination of years of hard work and practice for Red Deer’s Chaim Schalk, as the 30-year-old beach volleyball player had the opportunity to compete in his first Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“The trip was pretty awesome. It was a pretty amazing experience. Everything involved was really cool and we felt so much support from everyone back home and everyone that was there with us. Just competing on that stage was really, really cool,” said Schalk, who grew up playing beach volleyball in his backyard at his family’s acreage near Red Deer.

He decided to officially pursue this side of the game in 2009, making the national team that year. He partnered with Saxton from Calgary in 2013, and the teammates moved to California to train when not competing on the world tour.

Over the years, the men have been absolutely committed to perfecting their performances on the courts.

“We worked super hard to do it and (teammate) Ben (Saxton) and I teamed up four years ago and we made it clear that we wanted to go and continue to progress. Obviously the end goal was to make it and to give ourselves a chance to be a medal contending team at the Olympics. And we did all of that.”

Schalk and Saxton fought their way through to the quarterfinals of the men’s beach volleyball tournament before being eliminated in straight sets by the duo of Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen from the Netherlands last week.

As for the Olympics as a whole, it is always a much anticipated event. It brings hope, positivity, and it is a nice distraction from the calamities that take up so much of the airwaves in today’s society.

Just Posted

Local youth invited to check out ‘Peacebuilders’

Initiative aims to promote rights and dignity for all

Local municipalities launch 2A South Regional Transit

Communities of Innisfail, Penhold, and Springbrook now connected by transit thanks to pilot project

Getting your passport has been made easier

Government of Canada doubles number of locations where Canadians can get their passports

Police officer assaulted during traffic stop

Chasetin Morin of Red Deer faces several charges

Live nativity pageant takes place Dec. 18th to 20th

Outdoor pageant takes place in the evening at 7, 7:30 and 8 p.m. at 8 Keast Way

VIDEO: Ex-NASA engineer pranks mail thieves with glitter bomb trap

Package thefts are common this time of year, but YouTuber Mark Rober used his engineering skills

Canada ranks 16th on annual gender gap list

This is the second year Canada has placed 16th in the World Economic Forum’s list

Privacy watchdog says legal cannabis buyers should use cash, not credit

Some countries could bar entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis

‘A start:’ Alberta critical of Ottawa’s $1.6B package for ailing energy sector

A further $150 million is to be used for clean growth and infrastructure projects

Two-year-old attacked by cougar near Mission, B.C.

Boy not seriously injured in incident on Monday afternoon

Trump signs order to create US Space Command

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to create a U.S. Space Command.

Groups preparing new pipeline legal challenge, argue government’s mind made up

A Vancouver-based environment charity is readying itself to go back to court if the federal government reapproves the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Notorious Toronto triple killer gets third consecutive life sentence

Dellen Millard gets third consecutive life sentence for father’s death.

‘Subdued’ housing market predicted in B.C. through 2021: report

The Central 1 Credit Union report predicts “rising but subdued sales” over the next three years, with little movement in median home prices.

Most Read