Canada currently has tied it's highest gold medal count in any olympics (the 1984 Summer Olympics, which were notably boycotted by the USSR & allies).
We currently have the highest number of gold medals at THIS olympics.
We are three gold medals shy of the highest number of gold medals ANY country has ever won in a Winter Games.
We have surpassed our second highest total (17 in Salt Lake City) Winter Olympics count, and are three medals shy of our highest medal count of 24 (in Turin).
We are guaranteed a medal in each of men's curling, hockey and men's team pursuit (skating) - silver or gold. (In other words we ARE going to tie our highest medal count, and if we were to take gold in all three we'd tie the highest gold count ever.)
In addition to this we are sitting second in 4 man bobsleigh after two runs - another promising medal...
And there is still the men's alpine slalom; men's parallel giant slalom to be run.
It would hardly be the first time I thought about this, but watching the medals get awarded for Women's Hockey, it struck me again.
Watching the American team last night, they were (with one notable exception) subdued to glum about winning a silver medal.
It's a SILVER medal in the Olympics. I'd give my left kidney to have a reasonable shot at winning one for myself. But, no... a few of those ladies were downright despondent. Watching the medals be put around their necks and seeing their lips say "thank-you" while their eyes said "whatever" had me thinking that it's really unfortunate that the sheer numbers of olympians on the ice make putting off the medal ceremony to the official vicotry ceremony prohibitive. Just a few hours of separation from the game would allow the silver winning team a bit of perspective.
Consistently at these ceremonies you have two teams who have won in order to get their medal, and one that has lost and lost only minutes earlier. As a result, Silver is a losers medal.
The Finnish team were downright giddy getting their bronze. The Canadians were also delighted - though considering some of them were getting their third gold medal in a row you can hardly blame the veterans a certain level of complacency. The juxtaposition undermines the triumph of the moment.
It seems to me that if there were a day or even just a few hours between the game and the medal ceremony that the silver medalists would have time to re-frame their immediate loss as the overall win that it is.
For now I'm crossing my fingers that each of the Canadian Curling teams & the Men's Hockey team don't have to deal with the disappointment of winning the loser medal, and if they do that they see it as a victory.
The answer is "Go fuck yourself America"! (And Brian - though I have yet to get to that.)
Perhaps you haven't noticed that your population is 309 million, while ours is 34? Do the fucking math.
And... the Own the Podium initiative was intended to focus on getting a higher medal count than ever before. We aren't there yet, but the games aren't over yet either. And even if we don't... the majority of the ire against the initiative comes from the country that brought us "Mission Accomplished" - to say nothing of the manufactured fracas that built up to that piece of bullshit propaganda.
We may not get a record high medal count - it may even be the writing on the wall already - but the issue for me is that some ass-wipes from the USA think that that failure is really relevant and more importantly; significant.
Canada is taking shit right now for - god forbid - trying to be competitive.
It's the fucking Olympics!
We've already done better than we ever have on home soil. So guess what? We fucking win! "Mission Accomplished." Game over asshole! Oh, the asshole in question is a minor-league-famous podcaster named Brian who posted the title of this post as his Facebook profile tonight.
BBC has also vilified Canada for (oh shame!) the Own the Podium initiative. Gee, we must really be dickheads for trying to out do... who?... OURSELVES! How un-Canadian! This IS a competition. Why should we sit back and simply let other people win? The entire premise is ridiculous. Yes, you are right, we are such jerks, trying to set our sights higher and putting more effort into advancing our position - no real country would ever try and do that.
Seriously you guys (And Brian), go fuck yourselves. Yeah, I'm saying 'fuck' a lot. But that simply a reflection of how childish your dispertions are.
I had a totally civil and awesome dinner with an American couple (total strangers) two nights ago who felt no need to dispense contempt. We were watching curling and we could have cast our lack of respect for how poorly the US team is doing in curling... (the worst.... period) but that was totally un-necessary. We had an awesome night with them.
I really hope that Canada still manages to have our highest medal count ever - we only fell off the pace yesterday and a turn around is TOTALLY within sight. But even if it doesn't, we had already - by day three - out performed our previous medal aspirations by getting a gold... FOUR by now. That would be the equivalent of 40 for the US population. We are doing fine, thank you, how are you faring against the count of 40? (Answer = 7 = gofuckyourselfbrian.)
...or is this a US v. Canada hockey thing?
Yeah, you beat us today. Whatever. When did you last win the olympics? Oh... that was when I was ten. If you do better than us on the podium for hockey then 'fucking-yay for you.' But until then the answer is still: gofuckyourselfbrian. This IS still the preliminary round... and that means SFA. It is by name and definition, preliminary.
This occurred to me the other day, and watching the curling - the commercials, specifically - just now reminded me.
You may know that Visa is the official credit card of the 2010 Olympic games. If you are watching the games, Morgan Freeman is reminding you every 20 minutes.
It really is the only card. Not even debit is usable in olympic venues. Even theATMs will only take Visa cash advances. I grudgingly conceed the credit card sponsorship thing, but extending it right down to ATMs seems a bit extreme to me. At least they still take cash, so planning will avoid the issue for anyone who feels the need to fight the power... mind you I suppose those sorts aren't going to the events anyhow.
Back to Morgan Freeman; that is the thought I had that I wanted to share....
Is it my imagination, or does the wording and phrasing at the end of the commercials seem to subtly imply that indeed there is no other card accepted in the city?
"The only card accepted at Vancouver [insert tiny enjambed pause] 2010 Olympic Games."*
It's that tiny pause and the eschewing of the gramatically obliged "the" that do it for me. I know it's mostly imaginary, but now that I've heard it I can't not notice it.
*Despite my wrye comment about Morgan Freeman coming on every 20 minutes, it's not true & to make matters more difficult, there are other variations of the commercial. It took me forever to be listening when the right one came on so I could fact check my quote.
I admit that I leapt to my feet shouting victoriously when Alexandre Bilodeau won Canada it's first Olympic Gold on home soil, but a day later...
It's really nothing more than a Gold - cool and pride worthy as it is. More than anything its a monkey off our national back. I even felt pretty much inevitable that it would happen during these games - or is that just me? Its good it happened early in the games so that one more level of pressure is off our athletes.
A couple of side bars:
It was almost as sweet to see that prick Dale Begg-Smith pout his Silver medal win. What a knob.
As of this writing, we have four medals in three (still incomplete) days - which is roughly on track to tieing our biggest medal count. That is slightly misleading as more medals get awarded later in the competition.
What the fuck do they really think they are accomplishing? Their message - such as it was - has now been entirely undermined by the extremist approach.
Yesterday I went down to Victory Square to see part of the last of the Torch Relay. Protestors blocked the runner shouting "No Olympics on Stolen Native Lands" - which is such a load of crap, these protestors have apparently not heard of the four host nations... who all agreed to the olympics.
The police handled things well. They simply lined up between the procession and the protestors and the relay went around their sit-in... as the runner went past me (I overheard the police plans and thus was able to reposition myself very well), it became apparent that by design (having forseen the likelihood of a protest of this manner at that location) or accident the torch bearer at that location was in fact a particularly jubilant native fellow. It rather undermined the protest's weight - even if it was a valid complaint.
Yesterday's protestors looked kind of foolish, but they were nothing worse than that.
I believe that protest absolutely can be valid. But as soon as you are stepping on the rights of others - doing harm to them or their property - you are crossing a line. That happened this morning.
A group of protesters passed under our window this morning - marching up Hastings St. As they got to the intersection of Abbott, a by-stander who stepped up and shouted back at the protestors. What was shouted was inaudible at the 24th floor. A black-clad protestor actually pushed the man down to the street. The police at that time did nothing. I assume this was the same group that would eventually break windows downtown and that can be seen in the video linked above.
Actions like this deflate the opportunity of all protests to have an effect. Anarchy is NOT an effective platform for change. It is merely a process for unthinking reactionaries to demonstrate their lack of appreciation for the democracy they do have.
Here is what I have to say to the protestors:
Yes, you have the right to dissent. You do not have a right to hurt other people or their property. If you really had the courage of your convictions you'd protest with your face, not a balaclava. If you aren't willing to stand behind your actions you should really take a good look inward at your motivations. From where I stand you look like a bunch of punks who want an excuse to break stuff, not like anyone who really wants to be taken seriously. If you are so smart that you are convinced you are right, then you ought to be smart enough to make your argument in a cogent fashion that doesn't require violence. Your approach is no different than that of school-yard bullies. You want the world to know that this is your world too, but in the process you are forgetting that it is OURS too. In so doing you separate yourslf from those of us who you could have counted as allies in a valid cause in a legititimate demonstration. But as it stands, I will kindly request that you get the fuck off my side.
The Vancouver Olympics are practically upon us - tonight I went and saw the opening ceremonies dress rehearsal. It was very cool, but that's all I'm going to say about it. They do request your discretion and so forth. I'm not a big olympics booster, but I'm not a dickhead either.
I'm not sure what they could say or do if I were to announce that "Anne Murray jumps out of a giant cake and raps Snowbird but changed the lyrics to 'Snowboard'." [NOTE: That does not happen in the ceremony... or rather, maaaaybe it happens, maybe it doesn't, maybe something similar happens.] But I just don't see the point in giving anything away. Suffice to say the stage craft is predictably awe inspiring.
Getting into BC Place was reasonably simple - security wasn't that bad. But getting away from the building was a bit nuts. The route to get away - ultimately to the same entrance we arrived at - was long and circuitous, and despite being a neighbourhood that I am quite familiar with (I have worked mere blocks from the stadium for over five years I bike and walk around and past it regularly) I spent an awfully large amount of the time trying to grok where the hell I was being directed to and whether that was going to be good or bad for getting home.
Get this! For those people taking the Expo/Millenium Skytrain line away from the venue - you will actually end up being directed to Main Street station. If you are unfamiliar with Vancouver, there is also a station named Stadium Station. It is named Stadium because it is the closest station to the Stadium. Main Street Station is a 10 minute walk further down the line. To be fair, once you've navigated the labyrinthine security course away from the venue the difference between going to Main Street and Stadium is nominal... but it still seems broken.
I've said this in a dozen places already, I did not vote for the Olympics. Indeed, I voted against them in the plebicite. But they are here and I have every intention of enjoying what my tax dollars are paying for, and every intention of making the experience as pleasant for our international guests as I can. The latter is the best route to getting the most out of it for the residents of Vancouver - the time for protesting is essentially past. There will come a time again when we should clearly lay out cautionary tales of how Vancouver has been ass-fucked by the IOC. But that is not how we will build tourism over the next few weeks, that is how we will undermine our position of (grudging) opportunity.
Friday night, Jodie and I went out and witnessed some of the free delights of the Olympic event. We saw the majesty of Vectorial Elevation and shared a very special moment. It's going to be a very interesting few weeks, that is for certain.