The very epitome of winter countries, little Switzerland won three medals in a single day "
Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun, Friday, August 15, 2008
While the rain falls heavily in Beijing, the ghastly drought continues for Canadian athletes in search of the golden idol. Missing by fingernails in the pool, a extra-time goal in women's soccer,and by mere centimetres in the shot put, er, huh, putt?, pot?, ah just throw the friggin thing!, we are the epitome of the old saying "close but no cigar".
As we roll or better to say, row, into the weekend, do you not get the impression that cause Harpoon gave the finger to the Chinese Government, he unsettled and unleashed the athletic karma gods and we're hooped big time? There must be some kind of yin-yang going on here. "Shit happens' is one thing but when population-challenged Togo sends three athletes and has a medal already one should start deciphering the green tea leaves for answers.
I have had a brain-wave though on how to increase our medal count. I say we threaten the US Government that we will bring Omar Khadr home from Git'Mo unless Michael Phelps becomes a Canadian! Presto: 6 Gold medals.
Maybe we could pull a Georgia. When in doubt, get two Brazilians to register as citizens of Georgia and put 'em on the beach volleyball team.
"Ah, you're only 14, well, don't worry we can fix that. You're 16 okay Hee hee hee."
So much for The Olympic Ideal, eh?
Remember the Roman Coliseum? Substitute the Christians with modern day athletes; substitute the lions with corporate sponsors, thevarious governments, and the IOC eh, voila! Not too far fetched is it? Red meat for the masses: eat 'em raw!
Build an Olympic Village - a Gated Community on Steroids - made so secure that even Dubai can walk around like your average doorknob. Meanwhile, don't forget to bull-doze those downtown eyesores and throw their inhabitants to the wolves.
All together now -- The rich get rich and the poor get poorer. In the meantime, in-between time, ain't we got fun."
I'm not going to harp on the endless litany of complaints about the Chinese and Darfur and Tibet etc. That is not to say that the protests are not valid or necessary. Go get 'em. Eat 'em raw.
Let's face it, while we may not be amused, we are also not innocent. Premier Gordo the Clown is already whacking the ole Winter Games bus gear shift into reverse as he stumbles to defend our record on human rights (think natives less than a 100 miles from Vancouver with no indoor facilities, safe water,or even phone service), the homeless, the druggiesin the Downtown Eastside - there will be a round-up folks, just wait and see. Our time is coming. Let us not be smug - dare I say in a smog -- hello out there in the Fraser valley cough - and sit back like the 19th CenturyBritish hoi-poloi tut-tutting the dark-skinned brutes of India and Africa.
For one who really does lament the dark side, the politics of the Olympics- it seems inevitable - andwhich includes even those prime-time princes of profit and propaganda, the IOC once the gun goes or the whistle blows and the athletes streak down the track or splash into thewater, one can neither deny the drama northe absolute majestic beauty and skill of it all. And when it's one of your own lying on the mat, taking a ten count while the birdies fly roundinsidetheir skullcap, you gotta be there yelling "get up ya bum, your Canadian remember Dieppe!"
What I'm saying is, for us, the Olympics ARE the ideal, perhaps are only hopeforthe coming together of countries in brotherhood and love and fair competition.
Ping-pong diplomacy seems to work wonders. Nixon went to China only after two regular slugs, one a pinko commie rat, the other a bleeding-heart freakin' Californ-i-eh hippie, smiled and hugged each other at an International Ping-pong Tournament. These days we get Vlad the Impaler Putin smiling and waving to the athletic troops, all in good cheer, while he's sending in the real troops in Georgia basically using the Olympics to divert the world's attention from his land grab. Putin? Think about what you get when you cross-breed a rooster with a lollipop lover.
So, I'm not expecting the Chinese government to take a giant leap forward and over the Great Wall and negotiate with the Dalai Lama or convince the Sudanese government to end the sickening killing in Darfur .despite whatever promises before they got the Games.C'mon nobody said Dubai couldn't walk around Olympic Village like a doorknob unless he stopped off at the International Court in the Hague on his way home.
Perhaps I've grown too jaded, too cynical butembrace the contradiction - it's okay to blast the Chinese over those issues AND watch the Games. That said, I have no problem with, and even applaud those who have boycotted the whole extravaganza.
What I do detest is having the woolpulled over our eyes by the very people who tout the Games as One World, One Games or whatever stupid motto they chose. Turns out it is one world for only good looking people.
Why would I ever trust the Chinese government in any negotiations, about any issue, when they stooped to such Barnum & Bailey circus stunts of sending in Millie Vanilli to lip-sync a song at the opening ceremonies. Not only was the little 'volun-told' 9 year old duped into thinking this was a good idea for all of humanity, it wasn't even her voice, but the voice of some unfortunate smuck with bad teeth that the government couldn't stomach representing the country in such a monumental moment in their history.
Meet the new Nazis - the 'blue-eyed, blonde-haired' Asian supermen of the 21st Century.
A new twist or double-entendre on 'saving face'? Hide that kid! "You're ugly Kid, you'll never make it in Show Biz. Love the voice babe but the teeth have GOT to Go! "
I won't even get started on the digitally-enhanced fireworks.
When ya walk down the yellow brick or golden arches road ya better believe that the Wizard of Oz is using high-tech hoogie-woogie to hoax ya with.
Well, at least the smog and the rain are real. Right?
The old vaudevillians in the audience will know that while you can apply pounds and pounds of make-up to the old sod for the opening number, you can't fool all of the people all of the time .certainly not those in the front rows. Got that Gordo?
But let us return to the athletes.
One of my lasting images of these Games, for the moment anyway, is the look and smile on the face ofthe young Dutch swimmer after her comrades and her had won a gold medal in a swimming relay. That face would stop a tank in Georgia.
As for our Canadian legions, famous ex-Olympian Nancy Greene was on the CBC morning show here yesterday, rallying the troops -"don't give up on them Canada." (Kinda choked me up actually. She noted the number of personal bests in the swimming pool. "You can't ask for someone to do better than that".
No, you can't.
Row Canada Row!!!!
Bob Stark is a musician, poet, philosopher and couch potato. He spends his days, as did Jean-Paul Sarte and Albert Camus, pouring lattes and other adult beverages into a recycled mug, bearing a long and winding crack. He discusses, with much insight and passion, the existentialist and phenomenological ontology of the Vancouver 'Canucks,' a hockey team, "Archie" comic books and high school reunions. In other words, Bob Stark is a retired public servant living the good life on the wrong coast of Canada.
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