Won’t you let your red heart show?

oh canada!

Allow me (again) to bask in a little national pride for a moment.

Canadians spend a lot of time navel gazing and musing over the fact that we don’t wear our hearts on our sleeves much. We’re afraid of coming on a little too strong, and when we do, we apologize profusely.

I’m so glad that for a change, we let our flag wave often and proudly. We sported the red and white. We sang our anthem spontaneously. We celebrated with beer! We even came off as a bit obnoxious.

For once, Canadians need not apologize.

(Exception: the closing ceremonies music. Let me make this clear: most Canadians don’t like Nickelback. Here‘s an example of a band we should have had close the Vancouver games, which also explains the mystery behind the title of this post.)

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Games certainly had its ups and downs and fair share of criticism. There will be plenty of time for analysis in that regard. For now, let’s just bask in the glory of those record 14 gold medals, including one in…mens’ hockey!!

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Forget Own The Podium. They Own Our Hearts.

Olympics

Hayley Wickenheiser: OWNS IT!

Canada’s much-ballyhooed “Own The Podium” program to support its Olympic athletes has weathered tremendous criticism for falling short of expectations.

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?

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Vancouver is golden!

Winning at home is always sweetest. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)

It finally happened!

Canada didn’t win gold in 1976 in Montreal. We didn’t win gold in Calgary in 1988, either.

But tonight, in Vancouver, it happened.

Alexandre Bilodeau of Quebec – a toddler when Canada last hosted the Winter Games – is the nation’s newest Olympic hero as he captured gold in the Freestyle Skiing – Men’s Moguls competition. He also made a little history, becoming the first Canadian Olympian to win gold on home soil. Bilodeau beat the heavily favoured Dale Beggs-Smith (a Canuck, incidentally, competing for Australia) with a score of 26.75.  Team USA’s Bryon Wilson captured bronze in an impressive effort.

Bilodeau’s inspiration? His brother Fredric, who lives with cerebral palsy, and who was cheering for Alexandre harder than anyone else in the red-and-white clad crowd at Cypress Mountain. You can read about Alexandre and his brother here and watch their story “Source of strength” here.

I don’t think freestyle skiing has ever moved me to tears. Bravo Alexandre!

It’s the Sports Gods Valentine to you!

Surely you weren't expecting Schwartzenegger here! Vancouver Canucks legend Trevor Linden with the Torch earlier today (Photo Credit: Arlen Redekop)

This weekend is the sports equivalent of being handed a heart-shaped velvet box of decadent dark chocolates and not knowing whether to start nibbling on the dipped hazelnut or the coconut creme. But let’s face it – we deserve to be spoiled! Yes, there’s this party going on in Vancouver right now, but if you need something to keep you busy until the Pacific timezone catches up to, there’s lots to choose from.

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