ATLANTA (CP) -- Let the Games begin!
After years of dreaming of this day, busting their butts to become the best in the world and getting in final workouts in adjusting to their venues and the heat, the athletes are anxious to compete in these centennial Olympics.
"This has been the goal of our careers, getting here," says Montreal's Nicholas Gill, who won Canada's first medal -- a bronze in judo's 86-kilogram division -- at the 1992 Games in Barcelona. "It only comes around every four years so you have to take it very seriously.
"It means so much to your career."
Gill is joined on Canada's judo team by Moose Jaw's Nancy Jewitt-Filteau who will be gunning for gold today.
Jewitt-Filteau, a member of the Moose Jaw Judo Club, came out of retirement in a quest for a berth in the Olympics and today competes in the women's heavyweight division.
All Jewitt-Filteau's matches are scheduled for today.
Meanwhile, getting around Atlanta has been frustrating. But, while traffic jams and delays have been major hangups all week, congestion was expected to ease during the weekend as more and more roads are blocked for all but Olympic vehicles.
"There are a few glitches with the transportation system but it's like a train: when it gets going there are a few grunts and groans but once it gets up to speed it runs smoothly," says Mike Chambers, Canadian chef de mission.
Living conditions are being applauded by the athletes and most are impressed with their venues.
"It's your basic college dorm and that's all we need," Victoria's Adam Parfitt, stroke of the rowing team's men's eight, says of the Athetes Village. "It's at a major stop on the (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) route and you're only five minutes from anything downtown.
Victoria sculler Silken Laumann says the Lake Lanier course north of the city is among the best she's ever seen.
Basketball player Jodi Evans of Calgary says she's satisfied with her living quarters in the main village.
"It's just a dorm room, two beds to a room, but I guess it's got everything we need," said Evans, sporting a black eye and a bite mark on her back from an altercation during a scrimmage with the Ukrainian team.
"It's great," Niagara Falls, Ont., boxer Mike Strange said of the Village. "It's got a big cafeteria, which we don't need until we make weight, and everything's right there for us."
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald July 1996