Are you watching the Olympics? I am keeping an eye on them for sure although I am not exactly glued to the set.
As I begin to write this, not being quite sure what I what to say yet, Canada is tied for the medal lead.
Permit me to feel good about our medal haul because times have sure changed. Canada hosted the summer Olympics in 1976 and the winter Olympics in 1988, but did not win even one gold medal at either. That's never been done before -- not exactly the kind of record one revels in.
Times have changed. We won the most golds at Vancouver in 2010 and have three in these early days.
This is not to brag because it's not as though I have had anything to do with the improvement, but it's sure is better to see my country doing well rather than poorly. It continues to be surprising, as I still almost expect our guys and gals to stumble at every opportunity. The change in performance takes some getting used to.
We are used to seeing stories like this: gold medal hopeful and very deserving skater, Brian Orser, loses to Brian Boitano over a slight misstep, not even really a stumble. The fact that Orser won the world championship over Boitano a month or two later, did not exactly take away the sting. In the same games, Elizabeth Manley outskated Katerina Witt in the free skate but could not make up the difference in points from earlier rounds. C'est la vie, as they say in the province to the east of us.
Both Kurt Browning and Elvis Stojko were the best skaters of their times, but neither were able to win at the Olympics. Kurt had 4 world championships and one second place at worlds but his best finish at the O's was 5th. Basically he was just emerging in '88 and simply didn't do well in '92. By '94 it was too late, for he was in decline. Ah well.
Elvis Stojko won three world championships and came second twice, but only scored two silvers at the O's. Basically, he was robbed in '94 (by politically influenced judging -- in my opinion) and was injured in '98, despite still managing to win the silver medal.
I know there's more to the Olympics than skating, but this seems to be what I remember most, perhaps because during those times, figure skating represented our best medal hopes. However, I am pleased for our Canadian athletes and am happy that all sorts of our athletes in other disciplines are doing so well. And not just Canadians either. The skill that I see as snowboarders do flips in the air or as speed skaters go around corners at 45° angles is awe inspiring. No matter where they come from.