February 27, 2010

Podium odium: Canada’s Olympic shame according to British journalists

Filed under: Cancon, Sports — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 13:11

I’ve mentioned Fleet Street’s disdain for the Vancouver Olympics before. It’s become its own little side-story to the coverage of the games. But it’s not just the Brits.

After the exit of their men’s hockey team from the games, Russian opinions were channelled by that staunch Slav Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey in Pravda:

We all knew it weeks before the game started, with accusations about doping being levelled at Russian athletes, and we all saw it on day one of the games, with the death of a Georgian athlete on a corner which miraculously was elevated the following day. Vancouver is not fit to hold the Winter Olympics.

[. . .]

We all know Canada has problems with the future lines drawn on Arctic maps and we all know Canada lives in the shadow of its larger neighbour to the south. The abject cruelty shown by Canadian soldiers in international conflicts is scantily referred to, as indeed is the utter incapacity of this county to host a major international event, due to its inferiority complex, born of a trauma being the skinny and weakling bro to a beefy United States and a colonial outpost to the United Kingdom, whose Queen smiles happily from Canadian postage stamps.

Maybe it is this which makes the Canadians so…retentive, or cowardly.

[. . .]

Everybody who knows anything about Olympic skating, Winter Olympic sports and international politics will infer from the pitiful and dangerous conditions provided by the Canadian authorities, which already caused one death, that Vancouver is mutton dressed as lamb. Take off the outer veneer and the stench is horrific.

However, not to be outdone by a mere “Russian” journalist, the mighty Times of London weighs in with their more nuanced condemnation of Canada and the Vancouver Olympics:

The idea was for Canada to emerge as gracious hosts of the Winter Olympics and glorious winners as well. Alas, the Canadians have come across as a bunch of mean-spirited, chippy, unsporting losers.

Things have come to a pretty pass when you find yourself rooting for the United States. But I really have been cheering for stars and stripes rather than maple leaves. The Canadian shenanigans in Vancouver have alienated the entire world.

[. . .]

The Canadians have taken an aggressive line towards any criticism. This kneejerk reaction is both small-minded and small-nation. It is not hostile to point out an error, particularly when the error is rudely thrust in your face.

It is customary at the Olympics to say that the nation holding them has “come of age”. China “came of age” in 2008; Australia “came of age” with the Sydney Games of 2000. In fact, Australia also “came of age” with the Melbourne Games of 1956; that’s because this observation has become an Olympic custom.

But Canada has not come of age in Vancouver 2010. Canada has regressed into a sneering but ultimately impotent adolescence. It’s been — well, rather unattractive on the whole.

So, there you go, Canada. Aren’t you ashamed? Don’t you feel properly dressed down by your betters? Or, like Simon Barnes’ “adolescent”, do you feel like telling him to STFU and GTFO?


  1. To the Brits and Russians,

    Tits or GTFO

    Comment by Victor — February 27, 2010 @ 13:53

  2. London 2012: Suicide bomber relay run appears as an exhibition sport.

    Sochi 2014: Russia uses all of Georgia as the Olympic flame.

    Comment by Lickmuffin — March 1, 2010 @ 09:31

  3. Time magazine chimes in:

    When I asked one reveler if there’s too much public intoxication in Vancouver, he responded: “There should be more.” A roofer by day, he told me he had just consumed eight to ten beers — and he looked like it. “The police are too strict,” he said. “One of them poured out my beer — and I wasn’t even drunk yet.” At 2 a.m., Granville Street was still packed, and there were plenty of drunks wandering about. Vancouver appeared to have more morons per square foot than the Jersey Shore house.

    Comment by Nicholas — March 1, 2010 @ 13:14

  4. But http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/03/01/bc-vancouver-post-olympic-exodus.html has a nice ending (scroll down) titled “Protesters moved on” which makes me want to read Stephen Leacock’s “The Great Election in Missinaba County”, or “The Marine Excursion of the Knights of Pythias”.
    Or both.

    Comment by Chris greaves — March 1, 2010 @ 13:14

  5. The Downtown Vancouver Excursion of the Hockey Celebrants!

    An excerpt:

    The scene is all so rowdy and energetic and frantic, that Ms Cleghorn,–the sallow hippy dippy protestor chick in the hippy dippy coffee shop, that I spoke of–yelled at the top of her lungs “F*ck you! F*ck you! F*ck you!” But all the people were so busy getting enjoying the celebrations that that no one had time to attend to it.

    Comment by Lickmuffin — March 1, 2010 @ 15:11

  6. Araminta Wordsworth finds this offering from Gil LeBreton to be a bit OTT:

    After a spirited torch relay ignited pride in every corner of the country, the Olympic Games began and quickly galvanized the nation.
    Flags were everywhere. The country’s national symbol hung from windows and was worn on nearly everyone’s clothing.
    Fervent crowds cheered every victory by the host nation.
    But enough about the 1936 Berlin Olympics …

    Comment by Nicholas — March 1, 2010 @ 18:24

  7. “But enough about the 1936 Berlin Olympics …” (6. Araminta Wordsworth).
    Exquisite. I was watching a TVO/BBC documentary on The Romans last night, and noted the parallel between “Bread and Circuses” and the Olympics.
    Give ’em a “fight to the death”, to watch and they’ll forget about everything else.

    Comment by Chris greaves — March 2, 2010 @ 04:58

  8. I do believe that Nicholas has Godwinned his own comment thread!

    Well played, sir! Epic win!

    Pip pip!

    Comment by Lickmuffin — March 2, 2010 @ 09:54

  9. […] originally just added this as a comment on this post, but it appears to have a bit more life in […]

    Pingback by Those ominous parallels again « Quotulatiousness — March 2, 2010 @ 10:59

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