The XXII Winter Olympics Games: Canada’s take
Gold heroics, booze at 5 a.m. and a great showing for Canadian athletes
Bobby Danger Jones
No country has ever placed better in the winter Olympics following a games hosted at home. Following that trend, Canada finished third overall in the medal standings with 10 gold, 10 silver and five bronze medals in the XXII Winter Olympic Games. The Russian hosts steamed back and won the games in the last few days. However, I am sure there are many Canadians who would say, Canada won where it mattered.
There are too many amazing accomplishments to focus on, but let’s talk about some of the highlights. The women (as usual) cleaned up in Sochi. Among many, Canada racked up a “double-double” gold in men’s and women’s curling, and in ice hockey as our dominance was reaffirmed.
Canada did however come up just short of Vancouver’s medal count. Canada’s conversion rate in Sochi was 54 percent compared to 59 percent in Vancouver while the U.S. dropped 15 percent to 69 percent, while Russia jumped from 54 percent to 71 percent.
A giant, tearful bear extinguished the flame in a massive cauldron Feb. 23, signifying the end of the end of the XXII Olympic Winter Games. Thomas Bach, the current president of the International Olympic committee (IOC) and former Gold medal Fencer, spoke at the closing ceremonies.
“What took decades in other parts of the world was achieved here in just seven years,” he said.
“I would like to thank the President of the Russian Federation, Mr. Vladimir Putin, for his personal commitment to the extraordinary success of these Olympic Winter Games.”
Everybody with an open mind could see the face of a new Russia — efficient and friendly, patriotic and open to the world,” he said.
Bach closed the games in the traditional manner of looking ahead to the next Games in South Korea in 2018.
“I declare the 22nd Olympic Winter Games closed. In accordance with tradition, I call upon the youth of the world to assemble four years from now in PyeongChang to celebrate with us the 23rd Olympic Winter Games.”
With Korea less than four years away, you better believe that Canada is preparing to continue winning trend and supporting our athletes.
Six doping cases
Austrian cross-country skier Johannes Duerr, who had been due to take part in the men’s 50 km, tested positive for blood booster EPO in a pre-competition test in Austria on Feb. 16.
The Austrian took part in a skiathlon Feb. 9, finishing eighth. But he tested positive for EPO a week later in Obertilliach, Austria.
Before the Swedes were set to battle Canada, they were dealt a significant blow. It was revealed that Nicklas Backstrom had tested positive for a banned substance present in allergy medication and had been withdrawn from the final.
Ukrainian cross country skier Marina Lisogor, Latvian men’s ice hockey player Vitalijs Pavlovs, German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle and Italian bobsledder William Frullani all failed tests at the Games.
Early gold medal start time unites Canada
Bars in Alberta were allowed to open at 5 a.m., and the first people into Calgary’s watering holes weren’t alone. Unless lined up early, getting into popular bars of sport worship such as Schanks North was a challenge.
Hours after the game ended, parts of downtown Toronto resembled World Cup celebrations, complete with chanting, honking horns and waving flags. But, unlike those celebrations, these were Canadian flags marking a Canadian victory.
At the Real Sports Bar in Toronto, gong-show Mayor Rob Ford posed for a series of photos with bystanders and his driver waved off what appeared to be someone’s attempts to send him drinks. During the third period, the mayor told The Globe he had to get up at 5:30 to watch but loved the game.
As he left, Ford was mobbed by fans including some people making negative comments — including “have you sobered up yet?” and “is that your new crack dealer?” — but also lots of love. Jostling the mayor, shaking his hand and splashing him with beer, people chanted “Robbie, Robbie, Robbie” until he reached his SUV.
In Edmonton, the downtown ATB tower was programmed Sunday to become a giant goal light, with LED lights flashing a red and white pattern every time Canada scored.
Shabrez Khan watched the game intently right in front of the massive TV screen at the Cowboys Dance Hall. He pulled off the choice seat by arriving at the nightclub, famous for its rowdy Stampede parties at 4 a.m. with just 20 minutes of sleep.
“I feel great. I feel really happy for the boys,” Mr. Khan said after the crowd of more than 1,000 marked the victory with a sloppy rendition of Oh Canada.
Hopefully this is not the last time Canada will watch their NHL heroes dawn the great Maple Leaf. John Tavares’ injury has sidelined the star for the remainder of the season. The injury is a stain on the victory and more ammo for those who oppose NHL players’ participation in the games.
But Canadians can take credence in the fact that we are the best at what we hold so dear to our hearts, at least for the next few years, Oh Canada.