By George Brown, editor
I realize it’s early, but the biggest embarrassment of these Winter Olympic Games might well go down as that awful rendition of O Canada performed by Nikki Yanofsky, the little girl from Montreal with the great voice. Whoever re-arranged our national anthem into that unrecognizable mess should be tied to the back of a snowboard and dragged through the slush on Cypress Mountain. We should all be able to sing along with pride when our national anthem is played, not fumble awkwardly because it’s going somewhere it was never intended to go.
For many of us, the Olympic Games have become a lot like Christmas: we complain about the crass commercialism of it all but every season we find ourselves knee-deep in its sappy sentimentality
CTV, the Official Shill of the Olympic Winter Games, has handed pompoms and megaphones to all of its “personalities” to shamelessly hype the Vancouver Olympics and our Canadian athletes. Some impartial commentary and journalism would be a nice balance. Mike Robertson blew the gold medal in the men’s snowboard cross. Everyone could see that — except the guy calling the race. “What a performance by Mike Robertson, who has captured the silver medal!” he roared. Robertson got lazy toward the finish and allowed himself to be outsmarted by the American.
I don’t want to get started about how the torch relay wasn’t really a relay, that the torch wasn’t relayed to our town, it was carried through; so, I’ll just say you can’t convince me otherwise, the torch, designed in British Columbia, looks like a marijuana joint. (So I’m told.) I know it’s too late to take advantage of the market, but someone should have designed an official umbrella that pops out of the top of torch. It would be more useful at the Vancouver Wetter Olympics than those red mittens.
I understand how difficult it is for organizers to select Canadians representative of all walks of life, from all sports and cultures, and from all regions but really, race car champion Jacques Villeneuve carrying in the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony? They couldn’t find a French Canadian Olympian to hold onto a corner of the flag? The organizers couldn’t have selected a worse candidate if they had given the spot to a washed up movie actor now narrating “inspirational” commercials for the host broadcaster.
I love Bobby Orr, he’s one of the nicest men I’ve ever met. My son was elbowed in the ribs by No. 4. Once Don Cherry’s term as governor general is up, they should pass the sceptre to him but I’m not sure he should have helped to carry in the Olympic flag. Grapes would have been a better choice than Donald Sutherland: he’s a former athlete and he looks good in a vest and long coat, but alas he works for the wrong television network.
The opening ceremony was a little over the top for my taste. I thought it was cool how the first indoor opening ceremony for a Winter Olympics, in Canada no less, looked like it was done outdoors. The northern lights, snowfakes and paper maple leaves were a nice touch. And how neat was the snowboarder jumping through the Olympic rings? And then all the singing starts and it’s like we let the choreographers of the Academy Awards ceremony take over.
The radio in my truck doesn’t receive popular music stations so I was at a little bit of a loss to recognize who passes for talent today. I did recognize Bryan Adams though. But who was that exotic dancer in the tight dress and high heels gyrating next to him? And who knew Wayne Newton could pull off a k.d. lang impersonation? Danke schoen.
It was fitting that Canadian hearts were glowing with pride on Valentine’s Day when moguls skier Alexandre Bilodeau won Canada’s first gold medal as a host of the Olympic Games. And fitting too that a member of a Commonwealth nation is whining about the judging since it would be bad form for Canadians to whine and at the same time refuse to allow athletes to train at the Olympic venues.
And to wrap up, why do Canadians need an American advertising agency to tell them how to cheer on our athletes. “Eh! O Canada Go!” Dumbest soft drink idea since New Coke.
Go Canada Go.