Monday, August 11, 2008


I haven't commented on the Olympics yet, but that doesn't mean I'm not tuned in. It's just that, well, this is a hockey blog, and I'm not so sure updates from the pitch are what people are clamouring for.

(Canada was pounded 6-1 by No. 1 Australia, by the way. Only two shots on goal, too.)

In terms of sports I follow, it's hockey before all else, but the Games are next in line. I was hooked for good in 1996 when, stuck on the couch with the flu, I watched the Atlanta Olympics from beginning to end.

The swimming so far has been the highlight, but I'm personally waiting on Friday when track events get going. I ran sprints in high school, well enough to lose badly at the provincial level, but my favourite part of meets was watching some of the other events firsthand.

Incredibly, one of the fellows I used to watch in awe, Dylan Armstrong from Kamloops, is competing in shot put in Beijing. Even as a teen, he was a huge hulk of a man. Back then, he was more of a hammer thrower, but a dozen or so years later, he's ranked 10th in the world at chucking a 16-pound metal ball 70 feet.

Beijing is a big, big deal in the newsroom. Every member of the sports department is working at least six days a week into the wee hours, and our staff is close to double. We have a dedicated website that's manned nearly 24 hours a day and a group of about 10 reporters and columnists in China filing all day every day.

Canada has yet to medal, but they'll break the goose egg at some point. Get the rowers out there already.

The real battle, however, is shaping up between the U.S. and China at the top of the heap. My money's still on the Americans, given how they'll fare in track events — 16 per cent of Summer Games medals are in athletics — but it could be close.

I've got a big NHL-related post in the works, but it's going to take a few days to hammer out. Stay tuned.

N.B. Matt Fenwick's on the Games watch, too.



At 4:11 a.m., August 12, 2008, Blogger Bill Needle said...

Medal is not a verb. Please banish the phrase "to medal" from your vocabulary. Pass it on.

At 8:49 a.m., August 12, 2008, Blogger Doogie2K said...

Oh, the tradition of squelching the organic development of a language. So lovably misguided. Will you be warning us next of the dangers of placing prepositions at the end of sentences, or splitting infinitives?

My opinion has always been, if it doesn't actually break anything (using "myself" as a formalized "me") or create a word that makes no sense ("irregardless"), and as long as everyone else knows what you're getting at, it's fair game.

At 10:47 a.m., August 12, 2008, Blogger Jes Gőlbez said...

Posting on the Olympics = Fail!

At 12:29 p.m., August 12, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

And these comments are why I never stray from hockey. Whew...

At 12:30 p.m., August 12, 2008, Blogger The Gate To The Groin For Yannick Bertrand said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 12:33 p.m., August 12, 2008, Blogger The Gate To The Groin For Yannick Bertrand said...

Olympics > Sundin non-news > Grammar lessons

At 12:43 p.m., August 12, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put."

--Sir Winston Churchill


At 3:12 p.m., August 12, 2008, Blogger Dennis Prouse said...

And such a successful Olympics it has been for Canada so far! What with our boxer getting pummelled 19-1 by some dude from Kazakhstan, our water polo team losing a 12-0 squeaker to that noted world Olympic power Saudi Arabia - the list goes on and on.

Why can we not have a Canadian athlete at these Summer Games actually exceed expectations, instead of consistently falling short? Every Canadian so far whom we thought might have an outside shot at a medal has fallen short, be it judo, trap shooting, synchronized diving, you name it. I know some of our better medal hopes have yet to compete, but it's still a pretty sad Olympics when Togo gets a medal before Canada does. I am also growing weary of the funding excuse -- I'll guarantee you that the Kazakh boxer who schooled our Canadian trains in pretty spartan surroundings.

At 4:09 p.m., August 12, 2008, Blogger Art Vandelay said...

Irregardless of whether it's in Fowler, it doesn't bother myself when someone decides to casually split infinitives. As long as the sentence gets us where we're going to. Who am I to say whether someone should of went to English class more often?

Not sure whether this post will impact future posts or comments. But IMHO its better then actually contemplating why Canada isn't medalling. Perhaps our athletes haven't been properly incented, or even incentivized.

At 5:33 p.m., August 12, 2008, Anonymous Ryan said...

That's not really fair, Dennis. How is failing to medal falling short of expectations when the athlete was an outside shot to begin with?

What happened to Canada's boxing program is an embarrassment, but both the gymnastics and swimming programs have taken steps in the right direction (although Mark Tewksbury's shilling of Swimming Canada is painful).

Funding is required to create strong programs, not strong athletes. A strong Kazakh boxer may emerge from a poorly funded program, but that's roughly as likely as a strong Canadian boxer emerging. And Togo medalling before Canada is just a quirk of the scheduling (probably). This year could be worse than the last Olympics, but wait until the majority of medals have been medalled before deciding that. (If someone "medals" by winning a medal, then a medal has "been medalled" if it has been won.)

At 7:48 p.m., August 12, 2008, Anonymous PPP said...

our water polo team losing a 12-0 squeaker to that noted world Olympic power Saudi Arabia

When making idiotic gripes about the performance of Canadian athletes you might want to get your facts straight.

The Canadians, making their debut, lost 12-0 to Montenegro. Who are they?

Montenegro are the reigning European water polo champions, having beaten Serbia 6-5 in overtime in the final of the LEN European Championships held in Málaga, Spain.

Before becoming an independent nation they competed as part of Serbia and Montenegro winning: 1 Olympic Silver Medal, 1 gold and 1 silver at the World Championships, 1 gold medal at the World Cup, 2 gold medals and a silver in the World League, and two gold medals in the European Championships.

Oh, and before that they had a pretty good record as part of Yugoslavia:

You might say that Montenegro has a bit of a pedigree.

At 7:49 p.m., August 12, 2008, Anonymous PPP said...

Proper link:

At 8:15 p.m., August 12, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I was hooked for good in 1996 when, stuck on the couch with the flu, I watched the Atlanta Olympics from beginning to end."

The games were from July 19-Aug 9. That's one insanely long bout of the flu! :-)

At 8:37 p.m., August 12, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Maybe it was when all the track events were on. I just remember about 10 days of watching, and by the time I was better, there was no turning it off.

At 8:37 p.m., August 12, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Montenegro has pools?

And what do you call a guy from Montenegro? A Montenegroid? Montenegrolian? Monteafricanamerican?

At 9:37 a.m., August 13, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Move hockey to the summer games(like 1920). That way we'll have a real sport to watch, Canada could kick some ass, and there won't be break in the NHL regular season every 4 years.

At 12:28 p.m., August 13, 2008, Blogger Dennis Prouse said...

My apologies - we lost to Montenegro. I would actually have preferred losing to the Saudis, as at least then the "lack of funding" gripes we routinely hear would have actually had some validity in comparison to Saudi Arabia.

The fact remains, though, that Canada is underachieving so far at the Games. Brent Hayden, a Canadian world champion, didn't make the finals in his best event. Our men's synchronized divers, who finished second at the worlds last year, managed only fifth in Beijing. We had a shot at a fencing and judo medals coming in, but neither of those materialized either. I understand that in sports, there are no guarantees, but it sure would be nice to get a surprise performance from one athlete in exchange for each one where we underperform. The Olympics are an opportunity to shine and perform on a world stage, and I think Canadians have a right to feel disappointed that we haven't seized the opportunity to date.


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