Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Olympic Dream

The 2010 Winter Olympics opened the other night in Vancouver. For all the hoopla, it was, really, quite unremarkable. The light show was very good - Canadians seem to have a knack for the 'magic' of lighting - unless they were all imported from Disney World.  That the first nations would be featured was understandable too. I didn't think all the reverence for our pseudo royalty, the Governess Generale, was necessary - God Save the Queen and O Canada fanfare? It was almost embarrassing to have the two twenty somethings behind her waving home to mom from the 'vice-regal box', it was embarrassing to have the bozos there yakking through the national anthem and it was a hoot to have the native chiefs show up 'fashionably' late. From there, however, - the Canadian thing went weird.

There were Canada's entertainers - mostly those who had international (viz American) appeal. Brian Addams was himself, Nelly in her latest resurrection as a hooker with a heart o'gold was suitably slinky. The wildings of Canadian east coast druids was something only a Charlie Daniels fan could appreciate. Leather-clad and paratroop booted plaided 'scots'  - laced and bodiced, net-stockinged daughters of the dawn, providing some sort of coven to enchant the gods. Mr KD Lang - Canada's officially first 'closet leaver' - reprised Orson Welles in a rendition of , what was described in the media as a 'religious song', Lenny Bernstein's 'Alleluia' - it ain't religious. But maybe her/his white suit was meant to tie into the white suits of those who bore the Olympic flag into the stadium - a melange of notables from stage, screen and sporting rink. The torch was also run into the venue by a series of Canadian sportsters - some pro and most ex-Olympians. The planned indoor torch - which must have been designed to look like a log campfire malfunctioned; and poor old Wayne Gretzky got to ride capless in the back of a pick-up truck, for a seven or eight minute trip through rainy streets to a harbour-side 'campfire' that was to burn for the Olympic period. There were times when I'm sure he thought some of the free-stylers running alongside the pick-up truck were coming over the side to say 'howdy'. Or maybe , even worse,  they would be protesters out to create an truck-bed incident! Dopers and winos don't run that fast, for that long and the ladies of the evening just don't run at all.

The City of Vancouver has gone out of its way to hide the lady's warts and pimples. They've blocked off the thriving demi-monde that city has developed - the gritty underbelly common in so many world-class places. The bozos and bums aren't getting anywhere near the venues trod by those in search of Olympic Spirit. But those seekers are free to explore some of the city's seamier delights. The high class gals - from Calgary, Toronto and Montreal will be resident up in the upscale mountain 'digs' for the relief of Olympic 'stress'. The Toronto Star was remarking on how even the video backdrops and shooting points have been vectored off to show the only the city's 'good side'.

Speaking of the Star,  they've decided to 'blow the  budget' on the Olympics providing the 'deepest' coverage in Canada with nine or a dozen top staffers on-site - the Star delegation was bigger than the Olympic team from a number of countries. After the first day, the most remarkable stories they could come up with are two 'love stories' about participants, and a paean to how the reigning Canadian 'World Ladies Moguls Champ'  did really well, placing second to an American with a 'blown knee'. We should feel good about that; "So near, and yet so far", as Rosie DiManno put it. At least that's better than one of those 'Olympic boyfriends' getting himself eliminated from a speed skating event he was supposed to contending for a medal in. The women's hockey team trounced the first-time-out Slovaks 13 - zip. Unless there is some competition (like from the Canadians on the US team) they might be our best chance for a gold.

What gets me is all the hooting about the 'golds we're going to get this time'. Now it may be part of the sport 'psychology' done to 'prep' heroes to do their best, but it strikes me that a notable lack of humility might just be calling down something Freud knew about but denied, 'hubris'. Even if there aren't any gods and goddesses up on Olympus to mess up the big-headed, losing after you've been bumming and blowing how 'you own' something, couldn't be too good for the ego. But  it seems that some of our 'big hopes' might be willing to settle for just that, and a two week holiday in the Athlete's village with all them free prophylactics. We'll be seeing.

I would like to see more of the athletes who just say they're going to do their best. That's my Olympic Dream.

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