I can’t help but roll my eyes at all of this. You can’t build a development program overnight, and let’s face it: these athletes are obviously doing something right. Much was made of the fact that we had never won gold in Montreal or Calgary. Today, we have eight gold medals. And we still have curling and mens’ hockey to go!
Look, I never expect Canada to be overly dominant at any Olympics. The U.S. and various EU countries regularly kick our asses in the medal count: fact of life. We accept it. Remember, this is a nation that lost its Expos and hasn’t seen the Stanley Cup travel down Yonge Street since 1967. We’re used to not having it all in the sports realm. And that’s OK. We have a rich hockey history and public health care and we can boast that Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot (NOT DEAD!) all hail from here.
What was the point of this post? Oh yeah: CANADIAN OLYMPIANS WE LOVE, EH?
Olympic Sport: speed skating
2010 result: bronze medalist in the 5,000-metre race
Why we love her: multiple medalist in Winter and Summer Games and therefore Canadian legend; wearing that scarf in the Opening Ceremonies that I still covet; her work to support Right To Play. Enjoy retirement, Clara!
Olympic Sport: hockey
2010 result: GOLD, BABY!!! (Sorry about that loss, my American friends. It’s not personal. It’s just hockey.)
Why we love her: for leading Team Canada to victory in Salt Lake City, Torino and Van City; playing hockey with Swedish men; playing softball at the 2000 Sydney Games; being classy, tough and amazing. And a mom.
Olympic Sport: figure skating
2010 result: a bronze medal after last night’s stunning long program
Why we love her: we embraced Joannie with glowing hearts and tear-filled eyes when we learned of her mother’s sudden death in Vancouver, not long after her arrival to see her daughter in these Winter Games. And then Joannie skated the performance of her career. The elation of the Games has been tempered by moments like these – tragic reminders that there is so much more to life than winning.
Olympic Sport: Ski cross (new to the 2010 Games)
2010 result: GOLD!
Why we love her: for kicking ass in her race against Norway, France and Austria, and how she looked as surprised and astonished as the rest of us when she realized she’d won.
Ok, I’ll be honest. It’s been the women who have captured Canadian hearts at these Winter Games. But I’ll bring you one exception…
Olympic Sport: skeleton
2010 Result: GOLD!
Why we love him: Jon is HOT! Also, for his unapologetic and unbridled excitement upon discovering that he’d won the gold. And for drinking a celebratory pitcher of beer on SportsCentre (special thanks to Andrew Bucholtz for responding to my Twitter plea for a photo) Also, Jon is HOT!
PHEW! I’ll need a cool drink to deal with that glorious gallery of photos. Tell us who owned your heart in these Olympics, Canadian or otherwise.