RICHMOND (NEWS 1130) – With medals in hand and smiles on their faces, Canada’s Olympic Athletes touched down on home soil this morning in Vancouver.
To cheers, applause, waving flags and singing of the national anthem, the athletes were greeted like champions. Friends and family made up most of the two dozen crowd that gathered, but a few passers-by just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Team figure skating gold medalist Patrick Chan says coming home with the team’s first-place finish under his belt is a dream come true.
“It feels good to be home! I’ve been away for a long time and it’s nice to be home in Vancouver and now it’s on to the next chapter,” he said.
Chan announced his competitive retirement before the Olympics, but says he will continue to skate in performances. He plans to open a skating school in Richmond, and hopes some of his Olympic teammates will join him to share their knowledge and experiences.
“Most importantly, I just want people to have a place to enjoy and train.”
Canadian skier Cassie Sharpe won gold in the freestyle halfpipe and showed off her hardware as she touched down at home.
“I’m so happy to be home, I just want to go lay in my bed and cook myself some food and hang out for a bit,” Sharpe said.
She said she’s been working hard on her skiing skills since the games in Sochi lit a fire in her. Four years later and she slid to gold in PyeongChang.
“It’s absolutely worth it,” she said. “Personally it’s a bucket list thing. How many people get to say they won gold at the Olympics? So definitely a bucket list thing. But then, of course, feeling the pride and feeling everybody from Canada being so proud of you and being so happy that you’re bringing [the medal] home to them and everybody all of a sudden knows you–it’s incredible.”
She teased the crowd, hinting fans may not have seen the last of her just yet.
“I have one more contest this year…then just get back on the training program,” she said, adding she might be at the next Olympics. “We’ll see, but I’ve got a few more years for sure.”
Women’s hockey forward Meghan Agosta brought home the silver medal. She told people welcoming her home that while a gold would’ve been nice, she is proud of her team.
“Every single one of us, whether it was their first Olympics or their fourth Olympics, like myself, we all brought something special to the table and we all have a lot of skill, talent, and speed. It’s unfortunate it ended up the way it did,” she said. “We train so hard and we went there for gold, and again it’s unfortunate we ended up losing…”
Agosta is a Vancouver police officer, but took the year off to train for PyeongChang. She said she might be back in a VPD cruiser this spring.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, 63 of 225 Canadian competitors, are either from BC or train in the province. Thirteen of those 63 athletes brought home medals from this year’s Winter Games.
Team Canada’s total medal count was 11 gold, eight silver and 10 bronze, with BC-affiliated competitors accounting for 38 per cent of the Canadian Olympic Team’s medal haul (six gold, three silver, two bronze).