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Rings of Ire

February 18, 2010

How embarrassing are these Olympics for Canadians?

I won’t even talk about the death of the Georgian luge athlete, which was horrific and raises big questions about the Games infrastructure.

No, it’s more the cultural aspect that bothers me. It started with the pathetic opening ceremonies, which had us all squirminng in our seats. It was embarrassingly bad to watch that tubby poet define Canadians as, well, not Americans.

We say please and thank you and zed rather than zee. And that apparently makes us better people. Frankly, I don’t believe it’s even true. Most Americans I know are impeccably polite – far more so than many Canadians.

For heaven’s sake, when is this country going to grow up? When are we going to realize that being smug about ourselves and snide about Americans is generally viewed by others as being, well, childish? This is not what great nations are made of.

Unlike other Canadians who criticized Nikki Yanofsky’s rendition of O Canada, I kind of liked it. It took guts to get up there and do that – a pleasant change from the rest of the pap in the opening ceremonies.

And how embarrassing was it when one arm of the Olympic cauldron wouldn’t work? How many years have we been working towards this? Eight? Ten? And we still can’t get it right.

We are such a nation of whiners. We whine when we don’t get the Olympics and we whine when we do. And then we screw them up and prove emphatically why we should never have been given them in the first place.

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