The memories of Olympic Games past still linger in Calgary, brought once again to life by the excitement for the much-anticipated return of the torch to Canada.
One establishment funded by an endowment from the Calgary Games was the National Sports School — a one-of-a-kind school meant to allow athletes to train without having to sacrifice high school — which has pumped out medal-winning athletes since its inception.
“Athletes are moving from all across the country to come to Calgary because it’s a city where the facilities are,” said Calgarian Kyle Shewfelt, who attended NSS and later went on to win Canada’s first gold medal in gymnastics.
He said you can still get the feeling of “Olympism” in Calgary, adding that the “Olympics (is) the most powerful movement in the world” and inspires people.
Jennessa Kemp, a 17-year-old Grade 12 student at NSS said “If (the Olympics) hadn’t happened, I probably wouldn’t be speed skating in the first place.”
She pointed out that even the C-Trains still have the ’88 symbol on them and that she has the Olympic Oval to train in, and dreams of being an Olympic athlete, she hopes, as early as the 2014 Games.
“We’ve picked up the torch and carried it,” said Cam Hodgson, principal of NSS.
He added that more than 20 athletes on Team Canada in the 2006 Winter Olympics had been through the school.
He said he hopes as many as 40 past and current students end up on Team Canada in 2010.