At its own Olympic Games, Canada proves a fourth to be reckoned with
On the 12-step road to recovery, they say the first task is to face and acknowledge reality. By that standard, Monday was a gilded day for Canada -- and I'm not talking primarily about the ice-dancing gold medal won by
"We're living in a fool's paradise," Canadian Olympic Committee CEO
Rudge also allowed that the program's name might be revisited. Its arrogance -- and violation of that sound business principle, underpromise and overdeliver -- made Canada's Olympic performance an ongoing set-up line for headline writers (WOE CANADA; BLOWN THE PODIUM) and pun-minded columnists ("flown the podium;" "moan the odium"). And those are just examples from the laptops of Canadian journalists.
Canada came into the Vancouver Games determined to end one drought, the almost unfathomable failure to convert a single one of 244 gold-medal opportunities on home soil in two previous Olympics. That ended with
The weekend began with the hosts trailing in the medal count, behind ... South Korea. On Black Saturday, Canada failed to win a single piece of hardware. The
What was to have been Super Sunday only brought more of the same.
Thus the weekend ended, with the hosts now tied in the medal count with ... South Korea.
Canada's medal haul four years ago in Turin was its best ever -- 24, including seven golds, good for third overall. Now, at their own Olympics, the Canadians are headed for their worst finish in the medal standings since 1992.
Alpine skiing got more Own the Podium cash, $10 million, than any other sport, and hasn't a medal to show for it. Ditto for figure skating. Long-track speedskating expected to have eight or nine medals by now; in fact, it has only three, Nesbitt's gold in the 1,000 and
The long-trackers' motto has been Today, Not Tomorrow, or TNT. (Insert joke here.) After two disappointing skates, medal hopeful
Early Monday afternoon in the men's cross-country team sprint, after leading for stretches late in the race, Canada's
"We're a fourth to be reckoned with," Rudge said, proving that amid the disappointment he could at least call on a sense of humor.
Before Rudge's Monday confession, Canadian officials had still been predicting a dozen medals in the final four days of the Games. But the reality check may be just the thing to relieve the pressure and get the team untracked.
That message was in the music to which Virtue and Moir skated Monday night, the achingly beautiful Adagietto from
So, Canada: That was music for forgetting, for moving on. Love and truth are eternal verities, and medal-grubbing isn't, especially when led by factotums in dandruff-encrusted blazers who don't do the hard work the athletes must.
If Canada does finish with a rush -- not a gold rush necessarily, but a flurry of performances delivered by athletes doing their unburdened best -- mark Mid-Course Correction Monday as the day it all changed.