Jim Austin's Vermonter at Large
Jim Austin
Jim Austin
is a freelance writer from Putney, Vermont.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 03.01.06


Oh (my) Canada

I love the Olympics. I watch everything. Even curling.

Curling is shuffleboard on ice invented by very old Canadians who wanted a place to drink their 7&7s (Seagrams 7 and 7-up) without any annoying young people around. How it got to the Olympics I don't know.

The Canadian team that boasted the oldest Olympian in the game won the gold.

Imagine, little Canada won twenty-four medals in these Torino Olympics. That's seven more than their previous high and only one less than the USA.

Canada is geographically huge but the population is tiny compared to the USA. Only 30 million souls exist in the frozen north, most of them huddling along the St. Lawrence River system which forms the US/Canada border east of Duluth.

I have dual citizenship, thanks to the intermarriage of a Canadian father with American mom (I consider myself mixed race). I can legitimately root for whichever team shows the most moxie during Olympic showdowns.

This year I am Canadian, through and through.

The American team stored up enough bad karma through their braggadocio and predictions of success that it would have been no surprise if Bode Miller had hit a mountain goat on his way down the mountain or Sasha Cohen had fallen through the ice after a triple flip.

Miller had to be the biggest disappointment to you Americans. He was touted as the next Franz Klammer, capable of winning gold in all five alpine skiing events in which he was entered.

He DQ'ed on two of them, ran out of gas on one, and was just too slow in the other two.

The skinny on Mr. Miller was that he came to the games out of shape and with a penchant for partying instead of skiing.

After the final event, the slalom, in which Miller snowplowed through the first two or three gates before giving up and skiing over a gate, he was interviewed by Tom Brokaw. Miller stated that the Olympic experience was great; he partied down, played some basketball, and gave his best in the events.

"I could have won gold." he said, "if the guys ahead of me had been slower."

He also could have won gold if he trained regularly and didn't look like a "before" picture in a Weight Watcher's ad.

The speed skating duo of Chad Hendrick and Shani Davis won some hardware while behaving like poncey little prima donnas.

Apparently Chad was torqued at Shani because he wouldn't participate in the team event that would have given Chad a chance at another gold medal. Shani said he would, then said he wouldn't.

Both proceeded to have little puffy lipped hissy fits at one another on camera to the tune of "Baby on the Bus goes Waa Waa Waa." That Davis was the first African-American to win an individual Olympic gold was sadly overshadowed by his juvenile behavior.

The biggest disappointment for the Canadian Olympic Team was their Men's hockey squad. The Canadian women were superior to them and their female opponents in every way.

They marched through to the final and demolished Sweden 4 - 1 with overpowering talent and scoring ability.

The men stunk. All those pros just couldn't get it together to win. No doubt their years in the NHL playing for an American team had blunted their competitive spirit.

The American men's team was worse. They won one game against Dorkistan before being ousted in the quarterfinals by Finland.

There were a few bright spots for the US team.

Apolo Ono and Joey Cheek of speed skating were gracious winners and proud Olympians. The snowboarders were the most fun with "Flying Tomato" Shaun White winning the men's halfpipe and Lindsey Jacobellis falling, literally, to silver in the Snowboard Cross final.

Poor Jacobellis, you would have thought she had climbed Mount Olympus and mugged Zeus the way she was treated by the media after hot-dogging away her gold medal.

Finally, I have to say that America deserves their crummy team. ABC's "American Idol" knocked the hell out of NBC's Olympics in the ratings.

What does that say about you low-rent Americans? Don't ask me, I'm a Canadian eh?