The other Vancouver games

Ed Smith
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Well, you talk about the brazen hypocrisy of politicians.
When the Canadian women's hockey team won gold over the United States, they had, like you would, a bit of an exuberant celebration on the ice.
They were having such a good time that they didn't want to give it up, and who could blame them? They were the best in the world, they had it all and above all, they had that gold medal for themselves for their country.
Let's face it. No one talked about them before the Olympics. For practically a year all you heard was who would be chosen for the men's team, and who would be left out. Would the organizers be making the right choices, especially after the last Olympics in Torino where we ended up seventh, for heaven's sake.
I was beginning to wonder in the last few months if we had a women's team at all. Had they left the country or what?
So now, here they were, coming out of the woodwork, it seemed, to put Canada on the top of the world where it belonged in women's hockey.
They were feeling really good about themselves at the end of that game against their archrivals from the U.S.
And why not? They deserved their little celebration. But wouldn't you know it? A few people with hockey sticks inserted where it makes them stiff and unbending had to throw cold water over the whole thing. They were practically drowning in righteous indignation.
"Did you see what they were doing right up there in public?" They were practically shrieking. "Some of them were actually drinking alcohol and some were even smoking cigars!"
I just about fell over backwards. They were actually doing those horrible things? Tell me it ain't so.
There were just a few little pertinent factors that were not being shouted so loudly. One was that the women were still inside the stadium where there were practically no fans left, according to the news story I saw after everyone calmed down. OK, so one or two being slightly underage was a bit of an embarrassment, but given the circumstances, did we need to fall over ourselves reprimanding them in public?
When was the last time you saw a team win anything of any significance and not drown themselves in champagne or something remarkably similar afterward? The cigars? I have to admit, that leaves a bad taste in my mouth (ouch).
Between the liquor and the smokes, there was so much sinning going on that practically the whole country was aghast. People were falling over themselves, apologizing for the Canadian Women's Hockey Team. I read in one report where the Canadian Olympic Committee, or someone representing it, apologized to the world on their behalf.
What absolute balderdash! The next day, one of Canada's most popular athletes was parading down a Vancouver street drinking happily from a full pitcher of beer. The old double standard, eh?
But that's not the best of it. Lo and behold, the very first thing I read tonight after Team Canada had defeated the U.S. for men's supremacy in hockey (YES!) was that U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper had a private bet on the game. What was the bet, you might ask?
I'll tell you. A case of beer! That's right. While our women were being badmouthed and castigated for being bad examples to womankind the world over, the noble and upright leaders of the two nations concerned were making it possible for one or the other to drown his sorrows in beer!
I fully expected to read the next day the Canadian and American councils of churches are apologizing to the rest of the world for their leaders' providing a poor example for all the rest of the world to follow. And, if Bill Clinton is anything to go by, they are probably indulging in cigars, as well.

Hypocrisy abounds
So does sin, it would seem. Evidently the organizers of this particular Olympics thought that so many young people in the prime of their lives and looking like young gods and goddesses could be led into temptation. They were not thinking of beer and cigars.
Accordingly, they distributed enough condoms to the athletes village to provide each athlete, male and female, one such contraption for every day of the games. No doubt the feeling was that if they couldn't stop the sinning, they might at least cut down on the wages. No comment was made as to the various styles, colors or sizes, although one would expect some variation at least in the latter category.
Since one assumes one couple can use only one contraceptive at a time, you would think that would be enough. Not so, my friends, not so at all. The Commonwealth Games are touted as the "friendly games" but the Vancouver Olympics seem to have struck gold there as well.
Three days before the Olympics are over, one CTV announcer was gleefully telling anyone who would listen that the athletes village had actually run out of condoms!
Now, that's friendly! Or, depending on your point of view, that's really sinning. The athletes, despite coming from different cultures and different languages, learned to speak the universal language of love. They got to know each other, obviously in the biblical sense.
If you think I'm celebrating that kind of thing too much, OK. I hear you. Somewhere deep down inside most of us, where the legacy of the Puritans hangs out, there is a kind of blanching at so much raw sexuality practised, it would seem, so freely and randomly. Shades of San Francisco in the '60s.
But at an even deeper and more primal level than that is another insistent voice that will not go away.
Wouldn't it have been nice to be a part of all that youth and vitality for even one night?

Ed Smith is an author who lives in
Springdale. His e-mail address

Organizations: Canadian Women, Hockey Team, Canadian Olympic Committee Team Canada Commonwealth Games

Geographic location: United States, Vancouver, Canada Torino San Francisco

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