Celebrate ’88: 25 years later, but feels like yesterday

February 13th, 2013 marks the 25th anniversary of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in my beautiful homecity of Calgary.

25 years. A quarter of a century. Wow. I was quite young when the world was welcomed by Calgary, but I’m reminded of the wonderful event on a daily basis. All I need to do is look west to see Canada Olympic Park. While I was going to university, I walked by the Olympic Oval on my way to class. When you go skating at Olympic Plaza downtown, you just need to look around to see constant reminders of those amazing two weeks.

One of the most memorable images of 1988 is the logo. It remains very unique, combining the city and country through the letter C and includes one of Canada’s most well known symbols, the maple leaf, and an outline of a snowflake.

The logo features a unique C design. There are five large and five small letters Cs to represent Calgary and Canada - all in the shape of a maple leaf and a snowflake.

The 1988 Olympic Winter Games are also unforgettable because of the emergence of pin collecting. People from all  over the world gathered at pin “hubs” across the city, trying to add to their collections through trades. The pin phenomenon is still mainstay at both the Summer and Winter Games.

The 1988 mascots, Hidy and Howdy, had a true Calgary flare. Not only were they polar bears, but they (of course!) also donned their cowboy gear to play hommage to the Stampede. It was tough not smile when I picked up this Hidy and Howdy pin at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Hidy and Howdy pinSunIce jackets were worn by Olympic volunteers. From time to time, you see them make an appearance around the city and it makes you chuckle a little bit. The distinct 80s style and pastel colours are pretty hard to miss. I did a quick scour of eBay and if you’re interested in picking up one of these gems, it’s going to set you back anywhere from $80.00 to over $300.00.

How about this song? “Can You Feel It?” was penned by master Canadian composer David Foster and gives me goosebumps to this day. All you need to do is hear the first five seconds and you’ll be flooded with memories. The composition may have an 80s synth sound, but it’s so memorable, the piece is used during the Bellagio Hotel fountain show in Las Vegas.

There’s not enough space to mention all of the athletes and amazing moments from 1988. All I will say is The Battle of the Brians, Eddie the Eagle, and the Jamaican bobsled team. Personally, my favorite memory is Elizabeth Manley capturing silver in figure skating at the Saddledome. She had a delightful, up-tempo routine in a pink gown and became a true Calgarian when she popped on a white Stetson.

What do you remember? Celebrate 88!

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