VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- They did more than give their all. By twizzling their way to gold in ice dancing on Monday night,
Not to go all SI-jinx on the host country or anything, but with the possible exception of a few soft goals given up by
At a recent dinner with colleagues more worldly and hard-boiled, I made the mistake of effusing about the Opening Ceremonies. I had been moved by the symbolism of "host nations" -- Canada's native Americans -- welcoming the world as it entered the stadium in alphabetical order. I dug their free-form dancing, and noted the contrast between it and the rather more regimented celebrations we saw in Beijing.
No one could argue that
Dot No. 2 was that dysfunctional torch. Dot No. 1, of course -- the only blight on these Games that is truly indelible -- was the death that morning of a young luger on a track that had been widely described as too fast.
Dot No. 3 was the sight of the Great One being borne to the Olympic Cauldron in the back of a pickup. Yes, it was rather ... plebeian. Maybe that was the point. Standing in the rain, waving to the flash mob that followed him, Gretzky embodied a populism of which
Once there were three dots, there was no shortage of people eager to connect them. Throw in a chain link fence around the Cauldron, an ice-resurfacing machine on the fritz at the Richmond Olympic Oval and a disastrous lack of snow on Cypress Mountain, and we've got ourselves a pattern, a theme, a "narrative," even if it was somewhat contrived.
As Canadian IOC member
No matter how much goes right, or how much of themselves people pour into it, there's something about an undertaking this vast that quickens the pulses of nitpickers, alarmists and "miserablists" (coinage:
When Canada finally did win a gold medal at these Games,
Well Stephen, you're half right.
If the security personnel subjected journalists to bag checks and metal detectors at every turn, we would trumpet our displeasure to the mountaintops. But, with the Canadian government taking a more selective approach, at least one correspondent "
The simple truth is that VANOC is going to get slammed by some people no matter what it does.
The "narrative" suffered a serious blow last Tuesday at Cypress.
Indeed, that job is already underway. Sure there was the small matter of failing to Own (or, often, set foot on) the Podium over the next several days. Then came Sunday night's upset of the mighty Canadian hockey club -- "Damn Yankees!" blared the headline in the
Then came Monday, and Virtue and Moir cleansed the palate of a nation by cleaning up in ice dancing. What struck me, as much as the synchronicity of their twizzles -- "Bang on!" declaimed the CTV analyst, reminding no one of
Moir took pains to give props to their friends and training partners, the silver medalists
Even with this uncharacteristic emphasis on medal counts, Canada continues to be the home of the world's most polite people. That's why it's a pleasure to rise to her defense, to "stand on guard for thee."