A trio of Team Canada superfans, two with roots in the Okanagan, have been making noise at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
Shae MacDonald (Summerland), Andy Henderson (Salmon Arm) and Wyatt Danowski (Winnipeg) have been soaking in the atmosphere at the Olympics while on a break from teaching English at an offshore school in China.
“We are on Chinese New Year’s holiday and it lined up perfect with the Olympics,” said MacDonald. “I love the Olympics. It is big in my family. My uncle was a silver medallist in 1976 for swimming, so it has always been a big deal in my house.”
The superfans are decked out in Canadian hockey jerseys with the nameplates Buddy, Guy and Friend on the back — a reference to the cartoon South Park. And they took it one step further donning full-faced red and white wrestling masks and Canadian flags draped as capes.
Earlier this week MacDonald watched Justin Kripps tie the German’s for gold in the two-man bobsled event. MacDonald and Kripps have been friends since they were kids playing mini-soccer.
“We were confused, it didn’t seem real. We were looking for red and green to indicate if he was ahead or behind. When the final time came in as grey, we didn’t know what to do. I was really nervous for him. Then when we realized he won, I bolted to the finish line.”
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While they didn’t get close enough to speak with Kripps, they did make sure it was known they were there for him. MacDonald said they started singing O’Canada and were yelling ‘Summerland.’
“It was unbelievable. I don’t have a voice left. I just wanted him to do so well … it’s made the trip a success and it was the first event we saw,” said MacDonald, who will also be in the crowd when Kripps competes in the four-man bobsled on Feb. 23.
Besides the bobsled action, the trio have watched a game of curling, men’s hockey, the women’s hockey gold medal game and might catch a few more events.
“We are a little loud. We got shushed by a lady at the Swiss/Czech hockey game. I don’t think they all understand how we watch the game back home.”
At the Vancouver 2010 Olympics MacDonald said he remembers not having access to athletes, however, in PyeongChang it has been a different experience.
“You just see people walking around here and it’s normal. Canada House is really cool because they have the doors open to anyone. We were walking with two guys the other day and just started chatting. They were good friends of Scott Moir (gold medallist figure skater). It’s just so casual. When we see other fans we just give out high fives and become friends,” said MacDonald.
Above all else, MacDonald said the most exciting thing has been watching the Canadians compete.
“It’s really fun to cheer for Canada … at the same time though, I feel like not all Koreans are into it as much. So in that way, it is very different from what we had in 2010.”
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