Aug 14, 2008

Baltimore Bullet

Now, don't get me wrong, I like the Olympics. I like the fact, that for one event, the world can come together, relatively peacefully, and compete for the most prestigious prizes next to the Nobel. I like the fact, that for 10, 14, however many days, China and the USA compete for not over super-world power, but athletic ability on the world scale. And, I'm not going to lie, I like watching Phelpps.

Something about the Olympics is refreshing. It's huge. World Championships pale in comparison. Something about Canada not winning a medal in the Summer Olympics is typical. I don't even remember anything spectacular happening in Athens, so why should the Canadians put any effort into Bejing? Okay, so that's a little harsh. But let's be fair. We're Canadians cheering for the Baltimore Bullet, Michael Phelpps of the USA. Next best thing right? I can only imagine how lane 8, Canadian swimmer felt, knowing his country was cheering for the Eagle neighbor. It's probably bad that I don't even know his name! Overshadowed by USA fame again? Not quite.

The 2010 WINTER Olympics are in Vancouver. So where do you think Canada's sporting money is going towards? Summer athletes? I think not! Come on, besides Donovan Bailey's win forever and a half ago, what Canadian has ever come out of the Summer Olympics on a podium? (And of course, with the exclusion of the Rowing Team in 2004) No, folks, we are Canadian. We will forever do what Canadians do best...and that is snow. Snow in every shape and form. Skiing, boarding, skating, hockey, and those nice little sleds that go round and round and round. Who could ever forget Canadian Hockey victories in Mens and Women's teams? Who could forget the Sale/Peltier scandal of 2002? And what about Katrina Lemay Doan's stunning victory in speed skating?

To be fair, Canada is pulling out 6th, 7th, 8th places of the whole world in this years summer Olympics. To be 8th in the world isn't that bad. Nevermind the gossip that the Chinese are cheating ages, giving in to Hollywood expectations as far as little girls, beauty and voices go, and winning everything. Nevermind the fact, that alternatively, the Bejing Olympics are proving the Chinese prominance as a growing world superpower. Nevermind the fact that the Americans are trying hard to hold onto some speck of dignity. Canadian athletes are young. The gymnists will be ones to rival with come 2012. Alexander Despatie is still a force to be reconned with. The rowing team is rebuilding, and so are the other boating sports: Kayaking, Sailing..

The Olympics have never been simply about the gold. In Greece, they were a power symbol. Today as well, the talks of boycotting the Olympics came with the politics, not the competition. It's time to face the facts that China is growing. It is home to the most people, has one of the largest economies, and the fact that it has pushed it's athletes to win almost everything in it's own country is no suprise. I expect the next several years will be interesting to watch as the superpowers of the world shift. The USA empire will end sometime. Sooner, rather than later. Even the Roman empire fell. Perhaps, then, it is better than Canada sits as it does. Incredible at the sports unique to our country, but holding up just well enough not to make the podium come summer. As always, we stay in the happy middle, not causing too much of a rukus. Typically Canadian.

And yet, we still can't help cheering on Phelpps. Politics aside, this guy is phenomenal. Any country would be lucky to have him.

I love Canada, dearly. We are great, easy-going people, whose politians are more like girls fighting in the drama of high school, whose comics are some of the best around. We are the producer of the Barenaked Ladies, Celine Dion, Insulin, the Zambonee, the Zipper, Terry Fox, Real communication thanks to Alex Bell (Bell Canada anyone?). Our country was founded thanks to a bunch of businessmen who were beginning to realize how profitable Canadian soil was. Our civil war was a 20 minute barfight where the only injured party was an American who happened to be a spectator. We burned the Whitehouse to the ground, gave the Americans back their land and shelters thousands of African-American slaves. We have some of the most incredible scenery in the world, most of the fresh water, and at least 12 unofficial accents. (yes, I count Newfie). We're the first country to adopt the Multi-culturalist policy, ie: French and English, and we have pretty decent respect for all people. Not to mention we wrote both the American and Canadian anthems (you question the USA one? Written by a British North American..civil war...BNA was what is now Ontario and Quebec). Canada was the only country to reach its target on D-Day, we invented the proper use of the word 'eh', and Poutine is a pretty good thing. We have openned up the world's eyes to Tim Hortons, Sidney Crosby and, yes, even Wayne can have some honourable mention. We clearly invented the toque, perfected the winter boots, and are home to the best Skiing around. Not to mention the HBC. Yes, Canada is a good place.

So it doesn't bother me that our Olympians aren't winning medals. We don't need Medals to prove we're pretty fantastic. Besides, we gave the world Hockey. I think that's quite enough.

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