Before these Olympics started, the sporting braintrust in Canada addressed the issue of Canadian niceness. We are so nice, went the thinking, that we are reluctant to take first, often allowing our native courtesy get the better of us in sporting events, happily settling for second, or even better, fourth, so as not to spoil the day for others.
The new philosophy was going to be ‘Own the Podium,’ or in others words be proud of ourselves and our accomplishments, and don’t take a backseat. Obviously this has long been our attitude in our premier sport, hockey (or ice-hockey as the rest of the world sees it, although with all due respect to our winter deficient neighbours in the global community, that wussy thing you play with the curved sticks is for what Arnold Schwartzenager would call ‘girlie-men’). We don’t mind kicking butt there, and fully expect to win gold in both men’s and women’s hockey.
That new spirit can be seen all over Vancouver, from moguls to speed-skating. Our newest gold comes in the skeleton, Canada’s Jon Montgomery going flat out not just to place, but to win his event, doing so by the slimmest of margins. But slim margins are what the Olympics are all about, and I for one am happy to see this new Canadian attitude. It may not play well in the foreign media – England has been having a hissy fit, although now that they have won a medal themselves they may been in a little better mood – but it better fits with my image of Canada.
Traveling and living overseas gives you a whole new appreciation for your home country. There are some beautiful places in the world, but there are no better countries than the True North, Strong and Free. Wilfred Laurier once predicted that the 20th century belonged to Canada. He may have only been out by a hundred years. Our resources, both natural and human, place us in the forefront of nations. Our history – one of the most peaceful and compassionate nations on earth – and our geography give us huge natural advantage. Why shouldn’t we be proud of who we are as a people? Four gold? Come on Canada, let’s make it ten!