I was fortunate and incredibly blessed to be able to participate in the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics.
Specifically, I was working in the Mayor's office in Salt Lake City, Utah at the time. My son, Tye attended the opening ceremonies and even got to carry the torch - I watched as John Stockton of the Utah Jazz basketball team carried the torch through the crowds to the City and County building.
Later on, I became a "benovole" - a volunteer on the 2010 Vancouver Games bid - we worked the phones, met athletes, attended soirees and generally contributed to the good name of Canada - what a time that was!
As I watched last evening's opening ceremonies, I was reminded of our amazing Child of Light portion of the ceremony. There were some definite similarities with that program and last evening's.
I mourn for the young Georgian who lost his life while desperately trying to maintain his balance and control during a luge run - I recall the one Olympic event I attended with my two sons who were living with me at the time. Ryan and Tye were thrilled to see the bobsled event, and even more - to see the Jamaican bobsled team whooshing past us as we stood in the crowd, hoping for a glimpse.
It was truly an extended party where Salt Lake welcomed the world, under the leadership of the remarkable and capable Mitt Romney, after the scandals and debacles that had plagued the games prior to his taking the helm. We partied well and mingled with the delightful Canadian ice dancing pair who were wronged in the medal competition - later also mired in its own scandal - we met dignitaries and leaders from many countries - it was one of the only times during my seven year tenure in Utah where I felt like I truly belonged to a part of something. I digress. I dutifully wore my buttons, indicating that I spoke both French and German and was only too happy to provide directions, explanations and help to visitors from countries speaking those languages.
Life takes ironic turns - I had been invited to Vancouver to volunteer or work at the Games this year as I had worked so hard on the bid, but my health did not allow me to work the hours required to pull off what I had done in Salt Lake City.
There is always London 2012.
God bless the athletes - may there be comraderie, friendships formed, and above all, no more illegal substance abuse and death or injury.
Happy Olympics everyone - coverage can be found all the time on NBC.