Some Olympics Thoughts

I’ve meant to write more about the Olympics than I have, but obviously that hasn’t happened. Oh well, what are ya gonna do?

Canada is doing pretty well after a week of competition. We’re currently tied for 4th place in the medal count with France, 7 each. the United States is currently whipping ass with 18, 7 ahead of Germany which sits at 11.

Speaking of medal counts, I couldn’t agree more withthis column from Bruce Arthur.All of this you’re either golden or you’re a gigantic failure upon whom should be heaped scorn and ridicule crap going around thanks to the media and governments is just that, crap.

Monday’s front page of this very newspaper celebrated Alex Bilodeau’s moguls gold on Sunday – the first by a Canadian on home soil in Olympic history -as ending more than three decades of “mediocrity” dating back to the 1976 Montreal Summer Games.

Mediocre like being the second richest person in the world?

That guy who owns Ikea must feel terrible about not being able to crack the top three.

By that standard, one of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant is the best player in the NBA and the other is no better than Bill Wennington, Cedric Ceballos or World B. Free.

Forget for a moment that the sum total of that 34-year “streak” without gold represented two Olympics and barely more than a month’s worth of actual competition.

Forget about how many races were lost to countries that systematically treated its athletes as human pin cushions, creating organized systems of steroid use while employing the field of play as a proxy in the war of conflicting political ideologies.

Was Elizabeth Manley trouncing Debbie Thomas for silver in Calgary a “mediocre” moment?¬†Ditto for Karen Percy’s pair of bronze medals in the downhill and the Super G in 1988.

There is no way our collective self esteem should come down to the 24 hundredths of a second – less time than it takes to open a soda – that separated Erik Guay from a podium finish in Monday’s men’s downhill.

Similarly the hair’s breadths separating mogul skier Jennifer Heil on Sunday and snowboarder Mike Robertson on Monday from gold should hardly tarnish the silvers both took home.

Bang on. It’s seriously hard to watch CTV’s Olympic coverage for that very reason. I’ve been doing my best to avoid the analysts and stick to stations where actual events are being shown, but even that’s not enough sometimes. I realize the talking heads like me as a writing hand have a job to do, but it doesn’t do our athletes any favours to cast them as disappointments just because they were second, third or even fourth or fifth best in the world at doing something not many of us can do at all, let alone on that stage. I’m sure on some level the ones who don’t “win” are upset with themselves for not doing this or that thing just a little bit better or faster, but that’s a personal thing that each person has to deal with in his own way. Piling on doesn’t help, it just makes you look like pricks.

When it comes to this prick phenomenon, I don’t think anybody quite does it like the men’s hockey people. It’s so bad I don’t much care to talk about how our guys are doing because it’s been done to death. We’re doing pretty well. We thumped Norway and won a hard fought shootout over the Swiss. But that’s not enough for these assholes. Swear to God, at the end of the first period of the game the other night, the first thing I heard was something like “that’s 6 straight periods of Olympic hockey without a goal for Team Canada.” My immediate reaction was to yell “FUCK THE FUCK OFF YOU STUPID FUCKING FUCK!”at my TV. Honestly, how ridiculous is that stat? I guess it’s worth mentioning in passing, but when you stop and think about it, they’re 2 different teams and you’re bringing up shit from 4 years ago. Everybody on that team was either not there last time or has had 4 years to grow and mature as a player. Four years is a long time, a lot can change. Get a life.

Speaking of hockey, because of the utter shellackings the US and Canada have been dishing out over the years on the women’s side, there’s actuallysome talk of instituting a mercy rule.Yes, like they have in some kids’ sports. Yes, in the Olympics.

I suppose I can understand the case for it because some of those scores do look bad and make the sport look like a bit of a joke, but still, it’s the Olympics. Some people win, others don’t. sometimes the defeats can be pretty crushing. That’s all part of the job. And having known high calibre athletes in my life and knowing how I would likely think if put in that position, I think I’d rather be beaten 27-4 after a full 60 minutes of hockey than have to live with the fact that I got mercied in front of the entire world. If you want to develop confident players, you can’t rescue them just because they aren’t doing well. You can learn a lot from losing, a lot more than you can learn from being bailed out before game’s end.

And finally, still on the subject of losing…

I was hoping I could find a really good video of this, but it’s being yanked left and right thanks to the IOC. Here’s the best I could get. I feel bad that I laughed at this because I can’t imagine how she must have felt and because she managed to get hurt, but chuckle I did, so here’s footage of French Skier Marion Rolland’sglorious Women’s downhill Run…tip…fall…topple…thing.

That’s all for now. I’m sure I’ll have more to say as the games go on, but for the moment it’s back to flipping channels and avoiding panellists.

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