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Yellowknife Poet goes Olympic

If you haven’t heard already Shane Koyczan who wrote and performed the poem “We Are More” at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony was born in Yellowknife and has become an overnight sensation. If you want to know more about where Shane will be check out his Tour Group on Facebook.

From Nick Patch, THE CANADIAN PRESS:

VANCOUVER, B.C. – As Shane Koyczan stood obscured behind a curtain atop B.C. Place’s centre stage on Friday, only then did it hit him.

The opening ceremonies. The Olympics. The billions of people who were about to listen to him deliver his poem, “We Are More,” while preaching from a platform raised high in the air.

“I was, like, ‘You either go for it, or jump.”‘

Born to a French mother and a father of First Nations heritage, Koyczan grew up in Yellowknife, where he was raised by his grandparents.

He first began writing as a way to deal with his social awkwardness.

“Not knowing how to speak to people, I decided it might be best to go home and write some prepared speeches,” he recalled.

“Because somebody would ask me a question like, ‘How’s it going?’ Which I realize now is a very benign question, but at the time, it was: ‘Oh my god. I can’t believe this person just talked to me.’

“So I’d go home and write prepared speeches so when people would be like, ‘How’s it going?’ I’d be like, ‘Cheese is my favourite food and I’ll tell you why.”‘

Koyczan said the poem is about what he loves about Canada and Canadian people, and what he hopes for his country.

The genial, soft-spoken 34-year-old said he arrived in Vancouver a week before the speech and said that he managed several hours sleep – in total – over those seven nights.

And he wrestled with the idea of performing, not simply because of nerves. He has serious misgivings about the current Canadian government, specifically with the decision to cut arts programs.

“It was a moment I can’t even define in my life right now. I think I still need to process it. It was an absolute honour to be a part of it.”

If you missed his performance you can watch it below.

His performance reminds me of the old Molson Canadian “I am Canadian” commercial but with much much more passion.

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About the author

Kyle Thomas

Kyle grew up in Yellowknife and is a local entrepreneur, writer, baker, and Yellowknife Advocate who is addicted to learning as much as he can about the community and sharing it with anyone who'll listen. In 2009 he developed YkOnline.ca. A website all about living, working and thriving in Yellowknife for residents, newcomers, and visitors.

2 Comments

  • “And he wrestled with the idea of performing, not simply because of nerves. He has serious misgivings about the current Canadian government, specifically with the decision to cut arts programs.”

    What about British Columbian government and their cuts to the arts this past year– the same year they spent a billion bucks on the Olympics (which, according to them isn’t related)? I guess, given the ridiculous contract Koyczan and others needed to sign, he couldn’t get into all that. But, if he’s going to sell out, I don’t know why he’d bother complaining about the rest. 15 minutes of fame, at what cost?

  • “And he wrestled with the idea of performing, not simply because of nerves. He has serious misgivings about the current Canadian government, specifically with the decision to cut arts programs.”

    What about British Columbian government and their cuts to the arts this past year– the same year they spent a billion bucks on the Olympics (which, according to them isn’t related)? I guess, given the ridiculous contract Koyczan and others needed to sign, he couldn’t get into all that. But, if he’s going to sell out, I don’t know why he’d bother complaining about the rest. 15 minutes of fame, at what cost?

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