There are, over the course of one’s lifetime moments that when recalled bring back a feeling of National pride.  For myself one of the most vivid of those memories comes when remembering the 2000 Olympics in Sydney Australia.   Daniel Igali won a gold medal in the Men’s 69 kg freestyle wrestling competition and the win represented much of what is great about Canada.


Baraladei Daniel Igali was born in Nigeria and as captain of the Nigerian wrestling team he came to Canada to compete in the 1994 Commonwealth Games.  He remained in the Canada, seeking refugee status due to political unrest in his home land and became a Canadian citizen in 1998.


His Olympic Gold Medal in Sydney was an amazing achievement in it self as it was Canada’s first ever wrestling gold , but it was what he did after that makes this such a memorable moment.  After the final decision was announced Igali did the very Canadian thing, and congratulated his opponent while draped in his adopted Nations red and white flag.  With excitement and pride gleaming from the new gold medalist, Igali proceeded to the centre of the mat and took the Canadian flag from around his shoulders and placed it on the ground ever so delicately.  Igali proceeded to lightly jog two laps around the flag while looking at his new countries symbol as Canadian voices cheered him on from the crowd.  Daniel Igali continued his tribute to the flag and all it represents by dropping to his knees and kissing the Maple Leaf, completing one of the most amazing shows of National pride in Canadian sports history.


Igali as a Canadian by choice knows all to well of  life elsewhere and chose the great white north (Surrey, British Columbia to be exact) as his home.  For whatever reason few born and bred Canadians have as much pride in this great country as those who made the choice to live here moving from other lands.  Igali’s display made every Canadian who witnessed it, a proud Canadian themselves.


In the years following Igali has represented Canada at numerous events successfully, but nothing compares to that Awesome moment in Sydney.  For reminding us of just how great our country can be, Daniel Igali we salute you as an Awesome Canadian.

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