Olympics are just not normal

Point your toes! Point your toes!” I yelled at Sam Edney.

He likely didn’t hear me because my mouth was full of Bacon Ranch Pringles Potato Chips at the time. Or, maybe it was the fact that he was racing down the luge track in Whistler while I was shouting at him through my television.

Oh well, he probably already knew that pointing ones toes while flying down an

icy tube reduces the drag and will cut hundredths of a second off of his time. He is, after all, an Olympian.

I really shouldn’t be watching the Olympics. I’m a bad Olympic viewer.

I listen to one commentator say a few interesting things about a sport and then I become an expert who scoffs at Jeremy Wotherspoon for being so slovenly. I mean, c’mon, he missed out on a gold medal in the 500-metre speed skating race by a combined total of 46/100ths of a second … coming in ninth.

In 46/100ths of a second, I would have time to … to … well, I don’t think I could do anything in 46/100ths of a second. And that’s just proof right there that I should not be watching the Olympics. I lose all sense of proportion.

For example, I’m watching the speed skating, and Mo Tae-Bum of Korea had just finished. He is gliding around the track, bent over, trying to get his breath back. One of his coaches is skating like mad to catch up to him and it suddenly occurs to me just how fast these guys go without even trying.

And then there is Canadian Dominique Maltais, among the top three in women’s snowboard cross, who was a gold medal hopeful. But she fell. Eight years of competing and who knows how many years of preparation before that, made redundant by one soft patch of snow. Eight years of commitment vs. a soft patch of snow … where is the sport in that?

Speaking of proportion, I am thrilled that Alexandre Bilodeau won a gold medal. But to hear one young person proclaim that she has never been more proud of being a Canadian, I have to shake my head.

She likely wasn’t born when Ken Taylor (and my children’s grandfather, George Brian!) helped save the six Americans in Iran.

And it is very possible that she hasn’t seen news footage of Canadians toiling in Haiti after the earthquake … or Indonesia after the tidal wave … or New Orleans after Katrina … or soldiers in Afghanistan protecting the defenceless against evil.

Given these possible lapses in her notice, I could very well see why watching a Canadian bump his way down a hill on skis, earning 0.19 points more than the next guy, would finally make her proud to be a Canadian.

OK, that was a little rant there … I’m fine now.

I’m just saying, this young lady and I are enjoying the Olympics while skewing the proportions. For instance, I’m watching figure skating and thinking to myself, “Whoa, they have no padding on at all!”

But the concept does dawn on me eventually and, as funny as it would be, the Boston Bruins’ Zdeno Chára won’t be slamming them upside the boards anytime soon. However, I still need to get my head around the idea of “Swifter, Higher, Stronger … Lovelier”.

Having said all of that, I am enjoying the Olympics. It is, after all, sport, featuring the good guys and somebody else’s good guys.

If I had a choice, however, I would have suggested that the $2.5 billion be spent on making British Columbia a better place to live for everybody, instead of an advertising campaign, declaring to the world: Vancouver has no snow!

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