2009 Canada Games
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Opening Ceremony of the 2009 Canada Games
Summerside, PEI, Saturday, August 15, 2009
How are you?
Are you ready for the 2009 Canada Games?
There is nothing better than gathering together to celebrate friendship, excellence and, above all, the dreams of young people across Canada.
I look out and what I see shining in your eyes and in your bright smiles is a shared desire to create ties, achieve your goals and excel.
You look great, and I am delighted to be here with you in breathtaking Prince Edward Island that is renowned for its warm hospitality!
So many of the athletes who are your role models, those whom you have admired since childhood, have competed in Canada Games, in summer and in winter.
But today, it’s your turn.
Your turn to make your way to the starting line.
Your turn to stand shoulder to shoulder with our country’s very best.
Your turn to show the nation what you’ve got!
I know how hard you have worked to get to this point.
How many, many, many hours did you train, morning and night at the pool, on the field, at the track, in the gym?
I hope you are extremely proud of that.
Are you proud?
Because you are teaching Canadians from coast to coast to coast how to be courageous, how to persevere against the odds, how to keep our dreams alive even when we feel like giving up.
And this is why this year’s theme, Sharing the Spirit, is so relevant; for it reminds us that you are inspiring role models, particularly to other young people who, like you, carry their own dream and are doing whatever they can to transform that dream into a reality.
Tomorrow, you will put all of the months and years of discipline and hard work on the line.
This will be your chance to push yourselves farther and faster.
Yes, it is true that a fraction of a second can decide the outcome of a competition.
But please remember: the value of an athlete is not measured solely by result, but also by honour and dignity, in defeat as in victory.
Of course, there will be medals.
Of course, there will be the podium.
But there will also and perhaps more importantly be unforgettable moments of connection. Moments that will enable you to renew and strengthen the bonds that unite us as Canadians.
Keep your eyes and ears wide open and make the most of all that this experience has to offer.
Especially given that we are in a region of our country that includes Acadia, which we are celebrating today on National Acadian Day.
I would like to take this opportunity to once again wish Acadia a very happy birthday!
We are on an island, surrounded by people who are delighted to welcome you here in a joyful spirit of friendship.
Your trainers, the organizers and the many volunteers who are here have done their very best to ensure that the next two weeks will stay with you for years to come.
Take advantage of it, my friends! May this experience mark a turning point in your lives!
As our country prepares to welcome athletes from around the world to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, you, the youth of Canada, will show that it is possible to reach the highest peaks when you put your heart into it and dare to dream big.
You will prove to the world that sport can break down barriers between us.
So I am counting on you to embody and share the spirit of peace, openness and solidarity that is at the heart of good sportsmanship.
Bravo, to each and every one of you! I wish you all the best.
Make us all proud!