Where’s the gold?
We are seeing signs of the upcoming 2010 Olympics in Vancouver everywhere. I think the mascots are frigging adorable, the T-shirts okay and the hoodies a little scary, but the sense of excitement is all around us.
The cherry on this upcoming Olympic cake would be a gold medal. Sure we’ve won medals before but our dear country has yet to earn gold on our own soil.
In the 1976 Olympics in Montreal we brought home 5 silver and 6 bronze, in the 1988 Olympics here in Calgary we brought home a paltry 2 silver and 3 bronze, (thank you Elizabeth Manley).
Canada had its third best showing ever at the latest Summer Olympics, bringing home three gold nine silver and six bronze in Beijing (Apparently the soup-like fog didn’t affect our athletes too bad at all, who said Canadians were all about beer and beavers anyways?).
Our best showing ever was in LA in 1986, those wearing the maple leaf brought home 44 medals! Pretty sweet for Canada but we should take into account that 14 Eastern Bloc countries boycotted the games that year. Still 44 medals are 44 medals.
I’m thinkin’ this will be the Olympics for Canada to finally break the gold medal-less chain. Dare I say that women’s hockey will be almost a shoe-in for gold; men’s hockey also has a great chance.
Let’s take a look at the Canadian medal darlings from the last winter Olympics in Torino, Italy in 2006.
Chandra Crawford, Brad Gushue and team, Jennifer Heil, Duff Gibson, Cindy Klaussen and Clara Hughes. We know the names, we’ve seen the MacDonald’s commercials, at least one of these athletes or teams will bring Canada gold on our home turf.
Crawford won two World Cup gold medals in cross-country skiing last winter, one in her hometown of Canmore and a second in Finland.
Brad Gushue made his last appearance at the ’08 Brier and failed to make the playoffs. He’s still with gold medal teammates Jamie Korab and Mark Nichols but they’ve added a new face, Ryan Fry at second.
Jennifer Heil (coming to a commercial near you) won the World Cup title right after winning gold in moguls at the Torino Olympics. Heil then took the 2008 season off to give her knees a break.
Calgary’s own firefighter and skeleton extraordinaire Duff Gibson had the distinction of being the oldest Canadian to win a gold medal at 39. Gibson retired after Torino but I felt like mentioning him anyways. If certain professional athletes bounce in and out of retirement why not Duff?
Cindy Klassen holds the distinction of being the first Canadian to win five medals in an Olympics. Klassen brought home the gold for the 1500-metre speed skate, so winning a gold at home should be a snap.
Clara Hughes is as athletic as Canadians come. She’s won medals in both the summer and winter Olympics. Her gold in Torino came in the 5000-metre long-track speed skating.
And that collection of folks is just the beginning; there are hundreds of Canadian athletes with the wherewithal to collect some hardware in Vancouver-Whistler.
Think happy thoughts Canada, there’s still a year to go. Our athletes are training hard and the Vancouver 2010 collector’s glasses are already at a gas station near you. I’m thinking a little Canadian gold on Canadian soil will be no problem at all.