Figure skating falls into the category of Olympic sports that we Canadians are passionate about. We have a proud history of sending quality athletes to the Games, especially on the men’s side. It has been a tortured existence in recent memory: as long as I have been old enough to follow Olympic figure skating, Canada has failed to win a Gold Medal in the men and women’s events. This is despite sending three men to the Olympics over the past 20 years with a combined 8 World Championships among them. Continue reading
Tag Archives: 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics
The bobsleigh is one of those Olympic events that we in Canada are not overly fussed about. That said, bobsledding represents the marquee event if you are from Germany, Switzerland or Italy. Personally, I have always been a bit myopic about the various sports that are included in the Olympics. Men’s and women’s hockey: check. Skiing: check. Figure skating: check. Curling: sure, why not? I get to sports like the bobsleigh, the luge and the biathlon and question what they are doing being in the Olympics. Of course these are bit sports in various parts of the world and the athletes are as revered as we Canadians revere Martin Brodeur and Scott Niedemayer. Continue reading
I first gained an appreciation of downhill skiing during the 1988 Olympics in Calgary while watching Alberto Tomba scream down the hills of Lake Louise in the slalom and giant slalom events. Growing up in Saskatchewan, my only skiing experience came on ‘the pimple of the prairie’, Mount Blackstrap. Blackstrap came into being for the 1971 Canadian Winter games when organizers moved a combination of soil and garbage out to Lake Blackstrap and made themselves a mountain. Downhill runs lasted a good 1-2 minutes depending on your skill level. I would usually take about 30 seconds down the hill before heading off-course to the bunny hill. This was due to my inability to do anything other than ‘pizza’ and ‘french fries’ on the slopes. I actually wasn’t accredited to ride the mountain itself but instead snuck on the chairlift to avoid the humiliation of being banished to the bunny hills. I eventually learned to make the left turn required to get down the rest of the run and did so without causing harm to myself or others. My one and only time skiing was in 1988, just before the Olympics.
When I watched those 1988 Olympics I was struck by Tomba and his relentless charge down the hills. He was suited in what appeared to me to be hockey equipment, complete with shin guards, a chest protector, wrist guards and a helmet. He raced overtop and through every gate with a violent, but rhythmic set of turns down the course. To my naïve eye it appeared that he missed every gate, but in fact he made every gate and did so over a second faster than everyone else. In a sport decided by hundredths of a second, it was a phenomenal feat. Continue reading