I grew up in a household that was passionate about the Winter Olympics. When they were on, regular TV shows would be abandoned, dinners would be eaten in front of the glowing white screen, and homework would be put off until the next morning. In my family there was only one reason to watch the Olympics, but it wasn’t patriotism or admiration for amazing athletes or even the adrenaline of a good competition.
No. In my family, we watched the Olympics for the ridiculous, shimmering figure skating outfits.
The 2010 Olympics were great: We had Russians in controversial aboriginal outfits; men in their customary tights, frills, and sparkle; and women with more makeup than Broadway stars.
But while the outfits were laughably fabulous, the Olympics aired another important segment this winter. As the Olympic torch relay passed through Churchill, British Columbia, cars were stopped in the streets to make way for passing polar bears. In the spotlight of the Olympics, people also stopped to think about the threats to polar bears in Canada. As the self-proclaimed polar bear capital of the world, the city of Churchill is worried that global warming is beginning to destroy their claim to fame, and without changes by humans, polar bear extinction is all too possible.
We love polar bears here at Sasquatch Books. Even more than a muscular man ice-skating in feathers, sequins, and body glitter. A few years ago our press published Winston of Churchill, a book about a debonair polar bear fighting global warming in town of Churchill, Manitoba, in Canada.
The polar bear hero, Winston, says, “The ice is melting. We are losing our home. The time has come for action. This is no time for ease and comfort. It is the time to dare and endure.” With words for action, strength, and hard work, Winston sounds like he is encouraging a gold-winning Olympic team. The Olympics may be over, but the fight to save the polar bears from global warming is just beginning.
While the residents of Churchill were excited that the Olympics visited their town, they were more proud of their furry white neighbors. In an interview in Montreal Gazette, Gary Lunn, Federal Minister of State for Sport, diplomatically said, “There’s the power of the flame and the power of the bear. And nothing would be cooler than for a polar bear to see the flame go by.”
Just imagine a polar bear—wearing sequins and feathers and ice skates—watching the Olympic flame pass by! That would be a great show. Until then, as you’re remembering those shimmering figure skaters and chuckling to yourself, grab a copy of Winston on Churchill to keep polar bears in the spotlight.
You can also enjoy and celebrate them with our fun new polar bear title, Polar Polka. (You’ll need to entertain yourself somehow now that you can’t make fun of the figure skaters’ outfits!)