No Such Nonsense

A little of this, that and... what was I talking about again? It's TV, sports, pop culture and politics - all the stuff that really matters in life.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympic Musings, Part II

After much media whining about our lack of medals in the first week of the games, Canada burst out with a flurry of medals over the weekend, which had me glued, happy but coma-like, to the screen.

I discovered if you PVR the live coverage overnight, allowing you to fast-forward over all of the RBC commercials, watching the Olympics can become a quite sublime experience. Canada scored in rowing, wrestling, trampoline, diving, triathalon and even on the track.

But still, many folks are calling for increased funding for our athletes. I dunno. I love seeing Canadians win medals as much as the next gal, but I'm not sure funneling more tax dollars into training for our elite synchronized swimmers seems like the smartest move with so many other priorities underfunded. Sport is important, and I recognize the sacrifices that our Olympic athletes make. But I wonder if the scrimping and hardships are part of the price of gaining an experience that so few of us can ever claim. The British spent something like 20 times as much on their Olympic rowing program as Canada did, and came back with 2 more medals. So it isn't just about spending dollars, it's about spending them wisely. For me, I like the trend of corporations supporting our athletes - the athletes put food on the table and the company gets to bask in Olympic glow.

Some other thoughts:

  • Usain Bolt is my favourite athlete of the games, mainly for his hilarious showboating just before his races. The fact that he could win the men's 100, and set a world record for that matter, while essentially jogging and celebrating across the finish line, is just scary good - not to mention seriously entertaining.
  • Jacques Rogge, IOC President, has criticized Usain Bolt for his failure to show good sportsmanship after his races, shaking hands with his fellow racers and so on. Has Rogge not spent much time around sprinters in his life?
  • My favourite moment, bar none? The Canadian men's 8 boisterously singing O Canada, off-key, during the medal ceremony.
  • My least favourite: The women's weightlifting. Looking at the medal winners, the spectre of doping was just too obvious to ignore.
  • Eric Lamaze just won the gold medal in show-jumping, after being kept out of the last three Olympics due to a cocaine problem - which got me wondering: I know sometimes there are problems with riders and mounts being thrown out of the competition because the horse has been drugged; but, is there anything a rider could take that would performance enhancing? If there is, I'm betting cocaine isn't it.


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