Their black T-shirts stated "WE CAN."
Read between the lines and the message from the B.C.- and Vancouver-based Olympic athletes who gathered Monday at the site of the 2010 Athletes Village were telling us they are CAN. They are Canada and carry the country's aspirations of podium success at the 2012 London Summer Games.
"I'm not going to shoot for anything other than the best and I'm not afraid to say it," said Scott Dickens, one of seven Olympic team swimmers who trains at the University of B.C. and calls Vancouver home.
Dickens, who turns 28 during the international multi-sport tournament, addressed a crowd of nearly 200 school children as more than 40 London-bound Olympians looked on.
"We shouldn't be afraid as Canadians to go after gold and go after being the best in the world because I think that's where we need to go as summer athletes," he said. "The winter athletes went after it, they achieved it because they believed it and that's what we have to start doing is believing in ourselves."
Windsurfer Nikola Girke, who sails out of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, was there along with soccer star Christine Sinclair, recognized as one of the world's most natural goal-scorers, and the women's national soccer team that has been training in Vancouver.
London will mark the second Games for Paralympian Trevor Hirschfield and the third for Fabien Lavoie, teammates on Canada's wheelchair rugby team who both also live in Vancouver.
The squad won bronze in Beijing, silver in Athens and faces a tough international field in a sport that continues to develop each year.
"We have high expectations," said Lavoie. "We're a really well-prepared team, physically and mentally but there is definitely going to be a very hard position between the six top teams. It's a game that never stops evolving so you always have to be sharp, you always have to study, you have to keep training because everyone is getting fitter and better, it's not just a wheelchair sport anymore, it's athletes first and if you're not at the top of your physical abilities, you're going to get grinded."
Wheelchair rugby games at the London Games have already sold-out, said Hirschfield.
"It's rugby nation," he said. "It's going to be huge and it's a great spectator sport."
Scott Patterson is another Vancouver athlete competing at the London Games. The multi-sport Paralympian competed in track and field at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and skiing at the 2006 Torino Games and 2002 Salt Lake City Games where he won bronze. At these Olympics, he'll compete as a swimmer.
Dickens, who bested a quadruple Olympic champion in the 100-metre breaststroke at a recent meet in Santa Clara, Calif. fired up the crowd and spoke intently about missing the 2008 Beijing Games after qualifying for the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
He over-hauled his training program, increased his weight training and dropped the number of hours he spent swimming laps. It was a risky move, but he said he's never been faster at this point in the season and considers himself a medal contender.
"I believe in myself and that's all that matters. I believe that I'm capable of standing up against them and competing for a medal because I've done a lot of great things this year and I have a lot left in me," he said.
"Every day I look at it as an opportunity to get better. Having missed '08, I realized how much of a privilege it is to represent Canada at the Olympic Games."
The London Olympics run July 27 to Aug. 12.