I better get this out of the way at the start. Two issues ago, I said a few things, made a few predictions, and had the audacity to say that the Canadian Men’s hockey team would not win gold. Well, it wasn’t an easy win; Brodeur buckled as I predicted, and I will even go a step farther to predict that this NHL season will be his last full season. And I’ll have you know, I was one of the first people out on King cheering when they won, and they really strung together some majestic games. But enough about hockey, there’s a lot more to cover.
First things first, let’s get the facts you all know out of the way. Canada won 14 gold medals in these Olympics, more than any other country. 26 medals was the most Canada has ever won at any Winter Olympics. Own the Podium, blah, blah blah. You’ve heard enough of that. If you want the list of events we won, check Wikipedia. But let’s look at some of the more fun and controversial parts of these Olympics.
My favourite Olympic sport is no doubt short track speed skating. The whole sport is designed to mimic a roller derby with the added fun of attaching massive blades to everyone. It’s fast, it’s exciting, and it’s unpredictable. One of the saddest moments was watching the women’s relay finals in short track. The Korean women won very handily, getting a new world record in the process. They grabbed a Korean flag from the crowd and began doing their victory lap, all smiles and excitement. Five minutes later, a judge comes to the middle of the rink and announces that the Korean team was disqualified for minimal contact while passing a Chinese player. The look on their faces made me instantly sorry for them. The worst part? The second-place Chinese time set a world record too, despite being about 2 or 3 seconds behind them. The Koreans lost their medal, and gave away their names in the record book as well. Truly heart breaking. The Canadians ran into their own share of controversy outside of that match, in the men’s 500m final there was a crash at the end that ended up disqualifying the American Apollo Ohno because of his contact. The whiny Ohno said the Canadian made contact first, which could have been bad news for the gold and bronze we won from that race.
Canadians are kind of amazing at the –cross sports. With a gold in both ladies snowboard and ski cross, and a silver at men’s snowboard cross, we cleaned up pretty nicely at the top. We would have also been in the medal running for the men’s ski cross, but unfortunately Canadian Del Bosco, who had blazing preliminary runs, crashed near the bottom of the medal run. Luckily, the cross sports seem to house many older racers, so Del Bosco could be a face to contend with four years from now.
Joannie Rochette deserves a mention here as an outstanding athlete. Upon hearing that her mother died 2 days before her performance, Rochette went through with her individual figure-skating program and went on to capture the bronze. Many people say that her marks were inflated because of her circumstance, but while her second free program was slightly weaker than the fourth place skater from the US, her short program was still much better, and those marks still put her over. And on the other side of the rink, I actually agree with the male figure-skater Plushenko and his comments directed at the American gold medalist who ousted him. Many people find figure-skating to be a non-sport, if you don’t look like a figure-skater, then you’re immediately docked. Plushenko was outraged because the gold went to someone who didn’t even try to pull a quad. This almost warns the male skaters about trying to push themselves; rather you should stick to your safe moves and never push yourself to the scarier and harder moves. Athletic progression needs to exist, and I’m with Plushenko and will say, any man at the Olympic level who doesn’t even attempt a quad is no man at all.
And our gold medalist at the snowboard slalom is 35 years old. Good for you Jasey Jay Anderson.
Of course these are just a taste of what made these Olympics great. Each athlete, whether they were golden or dead last tried their hardest, and was an absolute joy to watch. This is a huge thank you to every athlete worldwide; while you may have made me skip every assignment due in the last few weeks, I had a blast watching you. Vancouver put on a great show, and the what-the-hell ending full of hot Mounties dancing with hot leafs may have been the patriotic moment in my life. But back to reality, back to work, back to counting the days until London 2012 (less than 900!) and World cup (less than 100!).
Oh, and Also Jon Montgomery, gold medalist in the craziest sport- the skeleton, is the best Canadian ever. Doing an interview while walking down the street chugging a pitcher of beer, gold medal around his neck, that’s a role model!