I can hear you all now as you read that title, "Oh good god, 3 days of having a blog and it's already gone to his head;he's already coming at us with his high-and-mighty 'opinions' and 'thoughts'......god help us, we've created a monster!" Well you know what? You're absolutely right! I'm positively drunk on the power that comes from the thought of being able to cram my opinions down the throats of my faithful devotees. That's right, all 3 of you! I have you right where I want you now! Muah ha ha ha haaaa!
Anyway, on to my Olympic musings......
Hey, Great Britain.....yeah you there on your tiny little island......EFF YOU YA BUNCH OF TEA-SWILLING CRUMPET MUNCHERS! Yeah, didn't expect such an impolite outburst from a Canadian did ya? Well you and your seething feelings of superiority have ticked off the wrong Canadian, and now you're gonna hear about it! Ok, so it isn't all you Brits really so much as it is your sensationalist media, in particular the Daily Mail and even more particularly, one Martin Samuel. He is the writer who came up with the most offensively anti-Canadian piece of work I've ever read, and his newspaper seems to be getting a real kick out of, as the Brits say, "taking the piss" on our Olympics.
With this diatribe he very openly lays the blame for the death of Georgian luge athlete, Nodar Kumaritashvili, sqaurely at the feet of all Canadians. Essentially, he says that in our desire to win, we knowingly built an unsafe sliding track and then goes on to accuse Canadian athletes of cheating. How, you might ask? According to him, by not allowing other athletes ample opportunity to practice on the track.
Wow, a nation of murderous cheaters. What has the Olympic spirit done to us?
However, there are a few interesting points about this article. This writer is, at worst, putting forth some outright lies, or at best, is very uninformed. Either way, you would think that 400,000 pounds, which is upwards of $656,000 Canadian dollars (and Mr. Samuel's reported salary) would get you some more factual and less biased pieces of writing. Samuel says that the athlete did not have sufficient access to train on the track, but admits that the fatal training run occurred on ONLY his 26TH run. That means he had seen that track and that turn 25 times already. He accuses Canada of cheating, by denying other teams and athletes access to train at the track. What he fails to mention is that not only did Canada allow all foreign teams the full amount of training as required by the IOC, but according to information I came across, offered athletes ranked lower than 30 in the world, extra training time above and beyond what regulations call for. This offer of extra training was apparently not taken advantage of by Nodar. What a convenient little tidbit of information to overlook in his article.
But Martin Samuel is not alone in the British media. There are other articles with all manner of outlandish and harsh criticisms. They compare the success of our women's hockey team, to "the slaughter of innocents." (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-1251974/WINTER-OLYMPICS-BLOG-Canada-goals-success-mean-womens-ice-hockey-taken-future-Games.html) Wow. Who knew that not only did we win the game, but afterwards we took the opponents out back and shot them too. We'll show you for sucking at hockey! BLAM! Apparently, because we refuse to disrespect our opponents by treating them with kid gloves, we are bad for the sport. The fact that Hockey Canada regularly invites foreign teams and coaches to our country to observe our systems and learn how we go about developing the best hockey players in the world, was also overlooked.
There has even been criticism of Team Canada's slogan for these games: "Own the Podium." To us, it's a motivation tool to inspire our athletes to excel; to the British media, apparently it is just plain rude. Lawrence Donegan of the Guardian said that we are too concerned with winning and not concerned enough with being polite, like good Canadians should. Well gee whiz, you mean, that us Canadians, while the biggest sporting event in the universe is being hosted on our home soil, are displaying a sense of national pride and healthy competitiveness? Oh my! For shame Canada! For shame!
While the negative press does touch a bit of a nerve with me, really I just feel sorry for the dimwits who write this stuff. They're really just making themselves look bad. They've exposed themselves as members of that small segment of the human population who only find their existence bearable when they are "taking a piss" on everyone else's good time. Sure, there have been lots of problems associated with these Olympics, but 99% of them are beyond anyone's control. And besides, problems are to be expected in an operation of this size and scope. The opinions that really matter aren't those of the press anyway. They are those of the athletes and the people who are observing the Olympics, both at home and in person. Fortunately, those seem to be overwhelmingly positive. For proof of that, look no further than the bottom of Martin Samuel's article online. Scores of comments from all over England, Canada and the US, the vast majority of them strongly supporting Team Canada. I would imagine at this point that Mr. Samuel is really, really hoping that 2 years from now, the summer Olympics in London goes absolutely perfectly. But even if they don't, I'm sure most of us Canadians will be too polite to make him eat crow.