The 2010 Vancouver Olympics have ended! I would have loved to have written sooner but I got caught up in the Olympic rings! Too many events. Not enough time.
I am very proud of the United States which won more medals than any team in Winter Olympic history. And I am very proud of my host country, Canada, which – as you all know – won more gold medals at a Winter Olympics than any team ever.
I also want to congratulate my Canadian friends on winning that gold medal in men’s hockey. What a game! One moment – which captured the spirit of the games – was when Prime Minister Harper invited our U.S. Presidential delegation to meet with him before the game. No politics. We just talked hockey and how much fun we were all having in Vancouver. We were kept advised, however, of the ongoing negotiations between the President and the Prime Minister on their hockey bet. It turned out the stakes were a case of the oldest beer in Canada, Molson’s, against the oldest beer in the U.S., Yuengling. Unfortunately, they will be drinking Molson’s in the Prime Minister’s Office.
The U.S. Delegation with Prime Minister Harper
Our closing delegation had a wonderful time. This group was headed by Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and included Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services; Susan Rice, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations; speed skating legend Bonnie Blair (5 golds and one bronze); Kristi Yamaguchi, gold medal figure skater, TV commentator and Dancing with the Stars winner; Manny Guerra Jr., goalie and gold medalist in sledge hockey at the Paralympics and a member of every Olympic sledge hockey team the US has ever fielded; and Peter Axelson, world champion in downhill and inventor of the mono-ski.
Before the Games were over I had the opportunity to attend the Financial Times Global Business Leaders Forum and Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER) Roundtable Dialogue on the U.S.-Canada Border – both successful, informative and important in fostering dialogue between the U.S. and Canada. I also made a quick stopover in Victoria to give a speech on American foreign policy. While we were there, we made a memorable stop for breakfast at a small restaurant called Cabin 12. They had read my blog and wrote to me inviting us to come with coffee mugs – hopefully from the U.S. They have a completely unmatched set – kind of like we use at home. We hadn’t told them we were coming and they were – to put it mildly – a little surprised. The highlight was when the cook came out and told us he was very nervous when he was cooking since he had never cooked for an Ambassador before. I assured him it didn’t affect his performance. Everything was great. We all posed for pictures and it was great fun.
Ambassador Jacobson and Mrs. Jacobson at the Cabin 12 Restaurant
We also paid a visit to the Coast Guard Cutter Long Island which is part of the security at the Olympics. Julie and I got a tour of the 110 foot ship and met the captain and the crew. When we approached the ship I stood at attention, faced the flag on the stern, placed my hand on my heart, and asked the captain for permission to come aboard. After he granted it a bell rang and we climbed up the ladder. Never thought I’d be able to do that.
The Coast Guard Cutter Long Island Crew and Ambassador Jacobson
Before all was said and done I also sat for an interview with 14 year old Scholastic Kids Press reporter Daniel Wetter with his mom as the camera person. The interview will go out to 7 million school kids across the U.S. I was so impressed I asked him if he would come along with me to a TV interview later in the day with Shaw’s Fanny Keifer. It was good to see Fanny again (my second appearance). Daniel had a real thrill when Premier Gordon Campbell – who was going on after me – gave Daniel a chance to ask a few questions. Exclusive interviews with the Premier of British Columbia and the U.S. Ambassador are not a bad day’s work for a 14 year old journalist. I suspect you will be hearing more from Daniel over the years.
Daniel Wetter, Scholastic Kids Press Corps Journalist
Scholastic Kids Press Corps Journalist Daniel Wetter Interviews the Ambassador
Our two weeks in British Columbia were a once in a lifetime experience. Not only did we have a great time, and not only did we see so many great events, we had a chance to watch firsthand the joy and the pride of our Canadian hosts. So much has been written about the transformation of the Canadian culture over the last two weeks. I don’t know what will last or how it will affect the country. But I can say – as an outsider – that it was a treat to experience it. I said before I got to Vancouver that I hoped the people of the United States and others around the world have a chance during the Olympics to see what Julie and I have seen since we got here in October. That Canada is a beautiful country with wonderful people. I am confident that they saw that. And more.