Olympic Wrap-up…

We all know Cindy Klassen is going to carry the Canadian flag in tomorrow’s closing ceremonies. It certainly isn’t going to be Jerome Iginla…

Wow. 24 medals. I was quite worried early on that we might not even match 2002’s medal total. But in true fashion, we came through at the last minute, with another 4 medal haul today. We finished behind the United States, with only 1 more medal than us, and then, Germany, which won the Olympics medal count. Not too bad.

As with every Olympics, there were surprises, big disappointments, injuries, and some sweet revenge. Here are my random musing about Torino 2006.

Iron Woman: Cindy Klassen is a true Mennonite. At least, I think she’s a Mennonite. She’s from Winnipeg and her last name is Klassen, so one would assume so. Racing in 5 different events and distances would be more than enough for any normal human being. She is Super Woman. And she may be even more super in 2010…

Best Smile: Clara Hughes. This gal is crazy. Crazy enough to win both Summer and Winter Olympic medals. She obviously loves a challenge. Seeing her win today was inspiring. She was having one of those “pure joy” moments that don’t happen all that often. And her smile and energy was infectious. She embodied the true Olympic spirit. Hopefully she’ll stay around for 2010. And maybe they’ll add the Women’s 10,000 m to the Olympic program. She’d probably win…

Long Track vs. Short Track: Just in case you didn’t realize how deep seeded East vs. West rivalries are in Canada, look at speed skating. Most long trackers hail from Manitoba and west, while almost all of the short trackers come from anywhere east of Ontario. Weird…

Disappointments: Men’s Hockey Team. Enough said. Our snowboarders. Jeremy Wotherspoon and the men’s long track team. Our aerials team – these guys have been outstanding on World Cup circuits this year. What happened? Skiing, too. For a country that has a massive mountain range, it amazes me that we don’t have many quality skiers. What’s the issue? We’d better solve it before 2010…

Best fall: Jeff Bean. By a landslide. While attempting a freestyle aerial jump, he lost his skis in mid-air. He completed his stunt in the air and then landed on his butt. He came out unscathed. American networks have been airing this repeatedly for the past 2 weeks. It was definitely memorable.

Best fall that ended in a medal: Jeffrey Buttle. As Brain Williams said, “How can you win a medal with snow on your pants?” Well, with figure skating’s new scoring system, anything is possible. It’s nice to see that in this event for a change.

Cutest Olympian (Canadian): There were definitely a few. Because of the brainy girl in me, I’m going with Brad Gushue.

Cutest Olympian (International): Well, this is actually going to another Canadian. Dale Begg-Smith of the Australian moguls team. Plus, he’s worth something like $400 million. That doesn’t hurt…

Best re-enactment of “Cool Runnings” (minus a catastrophic crash): Pierre Leuders and Lascelles Brown, manning Canada 1. Having only received his citizenship a month before the Games, silver was sweet for this unlikely duo.

Most sportsmanlike: The Norweigan ski coach who gave Sara Renner an extra ski pole, enabling her and Beckie Scott to win silver in the team sprint. He should definitely get a medal of his own.

Team that is going to have the best party when it returns: Brad Gushue’s curling team. The Rock is rockin’ because of these boys. There’ll be lots of partying and those boys won’t be single for long (if any of them are…).

Best union of youth and experience: Again, the Brad Gushue curling team. With Russ Howard’s knowledge and experience, and the shot making of Mike Nichols and Gushue, a gold medal was always within reach.

Best recovery: The Shannon Kleibrink rink. These gals had it tough all week, with missed games because of someone sleeping in and sickness that ravaged half of the team. But they stuck with each other and pulled out a bronze medal. Gutsy.

Best surefire win: Canadian Women’s Hockey Team. They didn’t take Sweden lightly. They took it to them and brought home the gold. They never lost their focus during the tournament when people were accusing them of running up the score and then the talk of taking women’s hockey out of the Olympics. These girls stepped up and delivered when it counted.

Most overused phrase by a color commentator: “There’s a double available,” or any phrase with “available” in it by Mike Harris, color commentator for curling.

Best first name of an Olympian: Duff Gibson. Hands down. His name is Duf! What more do you want?

Best last name of an Olympian: Uusipaavalniemi of Finland. I don’t know how to spell his first name, but that doesn’t matter. Look at his last name. It almost rivals that of George Stroumboulopoulos (spelling??).

Best prospect for 2010: There are lots here, but Joannie Rochette, the young figure skater from Quebec, had a great Olympics, finishing 5th – the highest finish by a female figure skater since Elizabeth Manley’s silver medal-winning performance in ’88. She’s one to watch.

Best mouth that got shut up: Bode Miller. He came home medal-less. Serves him right. Chad Hedrick. He didn’t get his 5 gold medals. And Mike Modano. He obviously played way too long with Brett Hull in Dallas. Hull’s notorious whining has rubbed off on Modano… Notice they’re all Americans? And even though Sasha Cohen never said anything, I’m glad she won silver. What is with Americans and their female figure skaters? They don’t care about their other skaters – only their female ones. Actually, it’s not hard to understand why. Just look at who graces the covers of all of their magazines. It’s obsession with young, gorgeous girls. According to me.

Future politican: Cross country skier Chandra Crawford. When on the phone with PM Stephen Harper (it kills me to write that…), she told him to invest more money into sport because he’d get it back in health care. Good call…

Worst on-air interview: BC Premier Gordon Campbell with Al Rker of the “Today” show. He was so concerned with giving Al the token Canada hat that has graced the heads of all our athletes, that he forgot to talk about the Games being in Vancouver in 2010. Come on…

What Americans now think of us: Al Roker pointed out that in BC Canada House (or whatever it is called), where Vancouver is promoting the 2010 Games, there’s huge log in the middle of the building. It’s from Bella Coola. And Al Roker promptly let Americans know that in Italian, Bella Coola means “nice butt”. Oh, great…

Most hated team: Team Sweden – Men’s Hockey. I will throw something if they win gold tomorrow. Their coach basically said that he was thinking about throwing their last round robin game so that they could get an easier matchup with Switzerland in the quarter-finals. Sure, you can think that way. But to say it out loud? Why wasnt this punished? This undermines sport in every way. It’s ridiculous. And now Sweden could win the gold medal and be rewarded. I know Mats Sundin plays for Sweden, but so does Daniel Alfredsson. Go Finland…

And that’s it. It’s unfortunate that CTV will take over Olympic coverage in 2010. To me, the Olympics and CBC are synonymous. Plus, it means that Ben Mulroney and Seamus O ‘Regan will probably be correspondents, and I can’t take that. It’s four years away and I’m already queasy.

I did miss CBC actually having a STUDIO in Torino. It’s not the same when the athletes don’t come into the studio and review their winning performance with Brian Williams. Call me crazy, but I don’t mind him. He’s the Olympics man. Plus, he and Don Cherry and quite funny together. Terri Liebel on the other hand – go away. Ron Maclean is okay…

This was a great Olympics for Canada. Historic. Memorable. Inspiring. Only one more thing needs to go right: please don’t let Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan tip over in his wheelchair tomorrow when he gets the Olympic flag at the closing ceremonies tomorrow. That would suck…


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