The National Hockey League (NHL) announced its withdrawal from the Beijing Games this week and if there is one person who is likely to disappoint the many players who are said to have participated in the event, it is Paul Caria.
After participating in the Lillehammer Olympics in 1994 as an amateur hockey player, the former star striker is due to wear the Canadian colors at Nagano four years later. The match was set in the land of the rising sun and the man who played with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim at the time had a certain taste for the whole thing, since his father was Canadian of Japanese descent. His mother and two grandmothers also had to travel to the other side of the Pacific Ocean. However, a concussion – the result of a head injury to Gary Sooter of the Chicago Blackhawks – ruined his plans before leaving for Asia.
Also, Kariya understood the significance of the missing date. “I’m sure every player is disappointed, I have no doubt in my mind,” Caria told The Athletic. I’m sure. But at the same time, because of what happens with COVID-19, there is a bigger part of the picture. I’m not here now [dans la LNH], So I will not comment on the decision, but I will be disappointed and it is understandable. ”
Bigger than anything
In fact, the opportunity to play games does not appear every day and according to him has enormous power.
“No matter what the sport, the greatest honor you can get as an athlete is to represent your country. And the Olympics, the pinnacle of sports in our society. As a hockey player, wearing a Canada jersey – for the first time in the Under-18s – was an amazing experience. Only with your pride in playing for your country, the games are at a whole new level, ”he commented.
In support of his arguments, Ducks ’previous number 9 illustrates the example of athletes from other disciplines.
“If you talk to a figure skater, bobsladder or anyone else, no matter what their sport is, they will tell you the same thing. Their World Championships are also great honors, but it is different from the experience they have had at the Olympics. ”
Meanwhile, Kariya admitted that games have remained a popular source of entertainment for the people during these dark times. According to him, the last Summer Games – which took place in Tokyo earlier this year – allowed many empty wounds to heal.
“You stop worrying about COVID-19 and you’ll be a supporter of these athletes,” he said. Great to see. For society, despite differences over politics, concerns over immunizations should be put aside. Athletes are only about seeing their best performance by doing extraordinary things in their work.
“Calculating it now may be more important than ever.”