Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 08.24.04
Stanstead, Quebec


Pretty swift, sort of high, reasonably strong

Welcome to Day 6 of the Average Olympics. So far the competition here in Athens, Ontario, has been mundane beyond all expectations as athletes of typical build and fairly ordinary background compete for Olympic mediocrity.

They have come here after years of training on weekends and evenings (excluding holidays, Sundays too nice out to pass up, and nights when "Survivor" is on) to go head to head in competitions that don't involve a lot of sweating.

Surely the highlight of these Olympics so far was yesterday's Men's 1000 Metre Beer Run.

Canada's Beer Running team in general has done staggeringly well but it was Jean-Phillipe O'Donnell who mildly interested the nation in the 1000 Metre. The performance by this veteran Sage of the Six Pack was like something straight out of a Telefilm Canada-funded straight-to-video movie.

O'Donnell may be the oldest member of Team Canada but those years of experience came to bear on Day 5 when he drove the three city blocks, running two yellow lights and dodging the pedestrian hazards that pepper this demanding course, getting to the d&eacue;panneur just seconds before the beer fridge closed at 11 p.m

It was a career-capping victory that earned O'Donnell an Olympic gold medal and a two-four of Sleeman's Silver Creek.

Today, Canada will try to recapture that Olympic interesting-ness in the Women's Household Hurdles, where Beth Johnson is expected to make a strong showing as she attempts to successfully race through the suburban home especially designed for the event while leaping over sprawled animals, laundry baskets of unfolded clothes, spilled food, sharp toys, and sundry children.

Johnson won silver in the 2000 Sydney, Nova Scotia, Olympics but that victory fell under a cloud of controversy when rumours surfaced about Johnson's abnormally high caffeine intake. Since then, Johnson has switched to half-caf and has been honing her skills by giving birth to twins in 2002, divorcing her no-good two-timing husband Tad, and shacking up with a guy named Dwayne who has two kids of his own and a fondness for reassembling motorcycle engines in the living room

Johnson faces tough competition, however, from American house-hurdler Marilyn Joycey Trainor Osgood Smythe, an up-and-comer who has been training at college keggers by dodging drunken frat boys and prostrate coeds.

Canada is also expected to go the middle distance in the Women's Rush Hour Marathon. Beaconsfield's own Jenny Lamadama is expected to do more than just okay as she sits patiently in stalled traffic, carefully cutting in and out of lanes, driving along shoulders, and intimidating other drivers with her trademark erratic braking.

Renowned for her tremendous bladder control and simmering impatience, Lamadama always does well in this event, as do competitors from other countries where some idiot decided it would be a good idea to build a city on an island.

She is hoping to repeat the success of the now semi-famous Jackknifed Cat-Chow Truck event of 2001 where Lamadama kept her cool while seventeen other competitors were disqualified for road rage.

Lamadama faces a tough challenge from Israeli Pazit Dagan. The Rush Hour Marathon is usually Israel's strongest event, thanks to its 4000-year tradition of waiting.

This evening will see the hopeful return of Canada's supremacy in the Lawnmower Polo competition. This is a deceptively difficult sport. Playing offensively is crucial but mowing too quickly can result in running over and shredding the ball, causing a penalty. Besides that, it's all finesse.

For instance, Team Canada's captain, Arnold Bierbohm, has developed a technique of throwing mulch into his competitors' paths, causing them to gum up their blades.

Since their disappointing finish in 2000, Team Canada has been training on some rugged terrain - playgrounds, inner-city back yards, Sudbury, Ontario - in the hopes of bringing home the gold. Now they are primed, their blades are sharpened, and they've got their SPF 35 on. There's no doubt about it, these competitors came here to hay.