Thursday, January 14, 2010

Calgary '88 Olympics: Reliving the memory

The ‘88 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary was one of the pinnacle events in our great city’s history.

Twenty-two years ago, between Feb. 13 - 28, 1988, 1,423 athletes from more than 50 nations poured into Calgary.

The Games led to the construction of numerous sports and cultural facilities in our city, providing many athletic and recreational spaces that are still widely used today, including:
This two-week period was also the culmination of one of the largest examples of volunteerism in the prairie town’s history.

Almost 10,000 volunteers played an integral role in what has been deemed one of the most successful Olympic Games in modern time. The opening ceremonies alone showcased roughly 10,000 of Calgary’s youth along with 40 social and cultural groups displaying their performances to the 60,000 thunderous spectators at McMahon (remember those dazzling purple full-body suits?).

Oh, and let’s not forget Hidy and Howdy, the quick-to-hug pair of polar bears that provided the face of the Olympics to the millions of people watching around the world.

As the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games approach, it’s hard not to feel nostalgic about our own city’s chance to host the world’s greatest winter sporting event, while celebrating with our friends to the west.

Do you remember the XV Winter Olympiad? Do you remember the Olympic Torch (fashioned after the Calgary Tower) relay’s “Share the Flame" theme? Did you collect Shell gas station pins? Did you choose a nation while playing intramural sports in school? Do you recall the David Foster Winter Olympics theme song? What about Eddie the Eagle, or the Jamaican Bobsled Team? Canadians adored figure skater Elizabeth Manley and her nail-biting, electrifying free program.

These are times we shared with the world more than two decades ago, but the memories remain fresh.

Where were you during the Games and how do you remember them?

We invite you to share your 1988 Calgary Olympics Winter Games stories.

***Images courtesy of The City of Calgary, Corporate Records, Archives

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