Kudos to Vancouver and Western Canada (and Sid the Kid from Nova Scotia too) ..

Mar 1st, 2010 | By | Category: In Brief
Sid the Kid, from Cole Harbour, NS,  is happy after he scores Team Canada’s golden goal, February 28, 2010. Harry How/Getty Images.

Sid the Kid, from Cole Harbour, NS, is happy after he scores Team Canada’s golden goal, February 28, 2010. Harry How/Getty Images.

At least something brief should be said about the Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010, now that they’re over. But just what is not altogether easy to figure out. The good news, however, is that, by and large, the news is good. (From our own Canadian point of view at any rate.)

My favourite penultimate headline comes from the Vancouver Sun: “Sidney Crosby saves Canada from nervous breakdown … Star centre scores in overtime for 3-2 win, gold medal in men’s Olympic hockey.”

For (almost) sheer objectivity, try the New York Times: “Canada did not win as many medals as it had hoped at these Olympics … but it won more golds (14) than any country in history.” Or the Los Angeles Times: “The United States will top the medal count for the first time since 1932, and it will finish with 37 medals, breaking the single-country record of 36 set by Germany in 2002 … Canada also has made history, leading the gold-medal count for the first time.”

You can’t get enough of her: Bronze medal-winning figure skater Joannie Rochette, from la belle province, poses in the NBC Today Show Studio at Grouse Mountain on February 26, 2010 in North Vancouver. Photograph by: Getty, Getty.

You can’t get enough of her: Bronze medal-winning figure skater Joannie Rochette, from la belle province, poses in the NBC Today Show Studio at Grouse Mountain on February 26, 2010 in North Vancouver. Photograph by: Getty, Getty.

(New York is more exact on the Canadian record than Los Angeles here. For the final exact medal counts see the Vancouver Sun. And if you want to know how Canadians far from Vancouver felt about the Canadian record, see the response to the Toronto Globe and Mail’s online question: “By setting a new record for gold medals won at the Olympics, did Canada make good on its goal of owning the podium?” As of 12:35 this morning more than 90% of respondents were saying YES!)

Nothing is perfect in human life of course — which is just one reason why Canadians say “sorry” so often. For some critical balance I think myself that the Montreal guru L. Ian Macdonald was right when he said it should have been “on the podium” not “own the podium.” There really was not enough about the French fact in Canada, in both the opening and closing ceremonies. And there were just too many Mounties at the end (even for a “Maple Leaf Forever” revival).

All this having been said, Vancouver deserves vast credit for hosting the 2010 winter Olympics in a way that has engaged so many Canadians from coast to coast to coast, and made them proud. These Olympics could mark a positive turning point in the endless progress of the elusive Canadian identity. If they do, Western Canada will deserve vast credit for this as well.

You can’t get enough of this either: “Canada's Sidney Crosby rejoices after scoring the winner in overtime as Canada beat the United States 3-2 in the gold medal hockey game at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.” Photograph by: Yuri Kadobnov, AFP/Getty Images.

You can’t get enough of this either: “Canada's Sidney Crosby rejoices after scoring the winner in overtime as Canada beat the United States 3-2 in the gold medal hockey game at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.” Photograph by: Yuri Kadobnov, AFP/Getty Images.

(Though in its progressive Pacific coast and not its Stephen Harper incarnation, some will want to hasten to add. And I should add too that I am saying these things as someone who has lived in Toronto most of my life.)

Finally, hosting global village events like this can sometimes show you just who your real friends are on the international scene. Having watched various TV coverages of Vancouver 2010 and scoured the web sites of newspapers around the world, I think there can be little doubt that Canada’s truest and most understanding friend nowadays is indeed the United States of America next door (believe it or not, etc). Here’s hoping as well that this coming fall enough of our fellow North American best friends forever will remember that they did so well in these Olympics too, under their history-making Democrat president, Barack Obama, from Hawaii and Illinois.

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