Consider me converted!
Upon the eve of the 2010 Vancouver games, I loudly professed my opposition to the entire Olympic movment. My main reason for which is simple, The IOC is corrupt. A series of wannabe polticians all gathering around the corporate teat for suckling. Don’t get me wrong, I was never anti-Canadian (as some suggested), merely anti-Olympic. If we’ve got to host the games, we may as well win the medals I figured.
I hated every day of the torch run. Friends would ask in amazement if I was going to go to see the torch, either in my hometown area of Flesherton or up in Sudbury where I go to University. I couldn’t care less. I thought my reasoning for this was singular. The IOC is corrupt. How can a flame that represented human rights violations on its way to Beijing 18 months prior now represent all the goodness in the world? It doesn’t become whitewashed just because its on home soil, does it?
But my second reasoning showed up shortly upon watching the Opening Ceremonies with my in-laws and it lined up with something else in the torch run. There was a certain synthetic nationalism that they were trying to force upon us. That these Olympics meant something to us as a nation. It was Canada’s coming out party. Bleh. We were Canadians before the Olympic torch came through wheretheheckami Saskatechewan, and we’ll remain Canadian far after the flames have been fully extinguished and the last Canada hoodie (which are quite nice) is sold by HBC. As for Canada’s coming out onto the world stage, quick, tell me 3 things about Torino, Italy.
Didn’t think so.
So right now I’m coming off as pretty negative. But somewhere along the line when the suits stopped their talk about ‘owning the podium’ and the athletes who actually have to fulfil the predictions were relieved of that pressure, a funny thing happened. The athletes started having fun, and the golds started to pile up. Then the national pride commenced, not because CTV/TSN/Sportsnet played the horrific “Believe” song every 5 minutes but because we found in these athletes real, unpolished, unsanitized people. Allow me to ask one more question regarding the torch run. If having over 2000 Canadian hands touch the flame over the longest domestic torch run was an act of nation builiding, why did the first week of the games fall flat?
It wasn’t the medal count. It was never about ‘owning the podium’, we don’t need to tune into a package of home-grown talent winning at every turn while ignoring the rest of the sports and athletes… that’s what NBC is for. I think that’s what “Believe” and the Torch Run and Owning the Podium was all about – Making us into America North, and that’s not the way things work North of the 49th. We have patriotism, and nation building, it’s just more organic here.
The closing ceremonies represented us far more than anything in bleached opening ceremonies did. If the image the world was left with is Catriona Le May Doan looking stunned as she rises out of nowhere to light the formerly broken 5th cauldron, fixed by a mechanic clown, then that’s fine.
…and if they forget, I’m cool with it…
…after all, I am Canadian.