Other athletes may come from bigger places and have more people behind them, but it’s hard to beat the ardent support for Brendan Green as he heads to the Olympics next month.
“He’s a real inspiration for kids around the North,” said Bob White, long-time member at the Hay River Ski Club and the organizer of several upcoming events to celebrate Green’s next Olympic efforts.
“Kids are picking up the vibe from his success and it’s encouraging them to do great things.”
White said everyone in the territory is invited to wear green on Feb. 7, the first day of the games in Sochi, Russia.
Green Day was celebrated last Olympic cycle as well, when people from all over the NWT wore the colour to send Green off to Vancouver in 2010. The Ptarmigan Inn is set to cater a pancake breakfast on Feb. 8 for Green’s first race of the games, the men’s 10 km sprint, beginning at 7:30 a.m. The race will be broadcast in the Community Hall at the Don Stewart Recreation Centre.
As for Green himself, he was pleased with his eighth place finish at a world cup race in Antholz, Italy, but said there is still some work preparing to do before heading to Russia.
“I knew I was capable of strong results this season, but I had this echoing doubt in the back of my mind after the surgeries of whether or not my body would still have it to pull out the really strong podium potential performances,” Green said. “So to be able to prove that to myself again and to do it right before the Olympics is a pretty sweet feeling.”
Green said he thinks he is heading in the right direction and was staying in Antholz to get more altitude exposure before flying to Austria and then Sochi out of Munich on Feb. 4.
Hay River residents will be following Green’s journey, as they did in 2010, except this time from across the world.
“We invite everyone to share in the excitement of Brendan’s remarkable comeback after the career threatening injury,” said White.
“To see Brendan back in form, healthy and doing what he loves to do again is reason to cheer. Brendan’s hard work and sheer joy in participating at the highest level in this sport that he truly loves is a special inspiration for us all.”