One big hockey game to go. And, yes, despite Pavol Demitra being only a crossbar away from a potential Canadian collapse and a Slovakia-USA gold medal game, I still believe Canada will bounce back, beat the Americans and get a chance to party like they’re female hockey players.
Someone asked me on Saturday if enjoyed the Olympics. Well, that’s a tough question. I loved the hockey. Period. I enjoyed some of the sports with the mute button on. Others? If the Olympic gold medal was on the line in a judged sport (figure skating, aerials, moguls, short-track — which shouldn’t be a judged sport but from what we saw in Vancouver, it is — etc.) and they decided to hold it in my backyard, I wouldn’t open the drapes to watch it. Judging at every possible level of sport is so frustratingly phoney, it’s just impossible to watch without laughing out loud.
Other than that, I did enjoy the Games. Especially ski cross, snowboard cross and long-track speedskating. I also enjoyed all of them with no sound on the TV. Frankly, if CTV and TSN had just one announcer per sport — one of the professional play-by-play guys like Rod Black or Rod Smith (especially Rod Smith) — the Games would have been quite enjoyable. But when Catriona LeMay Doan or one of the other fawning, bullshit artists opened their mouths, I wanted to gag. Thank the lord for the mute button.
As my pal Mike Richards said on the Fan 960 in Calgary last week, “Here was a typical comment by one of the CTV analysts: ‘Yes, Rod, what a wonderful athlete who has worked so hard all her life for this special moment because you know Rod, winning is better than losing. That’s right Rod, winning is good. Losing isn’t good. We like winning, Rod. All Canadians like winning. She likes winning. Winning is better than losing.'”
After all that phoney pre-Olympic hype, the I-Believe-Own-the-Podium hogwash, the Games were a nice diversion. But will this be it for big, popular Winter Games?
These Vancouver Games were huge. It was in North America, in a great city, and the North American media was all over it. But with newspapers struggling mightily, with TV networks (in Canada, at least) cutting to the bone and losing big money and with all those shoestring internet operations trying to save every penny to pay for content, the people who travelled to Vancouver aren’t going to go to Sochi, Russia in four years. Especially for a Games that will be held with a nine-hour time difference (to CST).
Meanwhile, only three cities in the world have shown any interest at all in 2018.
It was fun to celebrate Canada’s performance in Vancouver. After all, it was an Olympics held in prime time. But do you remember what happened in Turin? Did you watch much of that at all hours of the night? Will you stay up to 3 a.m., 4 a.m. to watch in Sochi? And if the NHL chooses not to participate, will you even bother with hockey?
A lot can happen by 2014, but right now, I’d say this Vancouver Winter Olympics was the last great North American party for a long, long time.