Glued to the tube for the Olympics

At the top of the hour, I have been tuning into CBC Radio to learn what is happening with Canadian athletes at the Winter Olympics in Turin.
My enjoyment of winter Olympic events normally is relegated to sitting on the couch with my wife as we watch the national, U.S., and world figure skating championships.
But every four years, I can hardly wait for the Games to begin.
We may watch the occasional hockey game, and pay more attention to the Stanley Cup championship, but I certainly wouldn’t flip the channel to watch speed skating or downhill racing or any manner of skiing competition.
But come Olympics time, I again have become obsessed with watching and cheering on our Canadian athletes. In fact, as I write this column, my website is fixed on the gold-medal final between the Canadian and Swedish women’s hockey teams.
I cheered for the Swedish ladies against the U.S.
Canadians have set the goal higher for athletes at this year’s Olympic Games than ever before. They are expected to bring home more medals and have more top place finishes. But while we have not made the podium as often as we would want, our athletes are demonstrating they all belong in the elite category.
I have cringed and ground my teeth at the missed opportunities of both the men’s and ladies’ curling teams. And now am elated that Brad Gushue’s rink made it to the quarter-finals.
I found it painful to watch our Canadian men’s hockey team against Switzerland. And yet when the game ended, I smiled at the Swiss team and the game that they had put together to defeat our national team.
We have created the first super champion in Canada: Cindy Klassen. She was responsible for three medals as of Monday—and she still has to skate her best event.
I also cheered on Jennifer Heil and Jeff Buttle, and I felt heart-broken for Patrice Lauzon and Marie-France Dubreuil as they crashed at the end of their program in the ice dancing competition.
In watching the downhill ski racing events, as well as the speed skating and the skeleton and luge events, you can go from first to 10th in less than a blink of an eye.
The pressure to perform on these athletes must be unbelievable, and yet regardless of how high up in the standings they come, when put before a camera, their humbleness and enthusiasm makes you proud to be a Canadian and represented around the world by these young people.
Together, the Canadian Olympic team is good for the health and well-being of our country. And when these Games are over, I can hardly wait to bring the Olympics back to Canada in 2010 when they are staged in Vancouver/ Whistler.

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