This week, most Canadians who wanted to be sitting in a cozy pub or friendly bar to watch Sunday's gold medal hockey game were in luck. Authorities in jurisdictions across the country allowed bars to extend their hours and serve liquor beyond normal times in order to accommodate the popular desire to cheer on team Canada with a beer in hand and fellow fans all around. But the fact that special legal dispensation was required for something as innocuous as letting people have a beer in a bar to watch a sporting event at an unusual time of day should make us all shake our heads.
Amid the medal counts, terror threats and Norwegian curling flare lies the notion that the Olympics make the world a better place. Any sense of togetherness or egalitarianism at the 2012 London Games, for instance, certainly did not apply to the podium. Only 85 of the 204 countries with Olympic committees won medals. If we look at what Olympism has yielded for some of the countries most in need of peace and goodwill, the picture is even less inclusive. The reason the Haitian earthquake orphan will not make it to the Olympics is probably not because she doesn't believe staunchly enough in her dreams.
No disrespect to Lincoln Alexander, Viola Desmond, Dudley Laws and the many black Canadian pioneers that have and continue to make vital contributions to Canadian society, but Subban has the potential to be the most important and influential black in Canadian history.
With far more time to fill than NBC, the CBC producers make maximum use of their resources. Not only have they done a dynamic job of bringing Canadian stories to the forefront, they've recounted the performances of other Olympians from around the world with true depth and aplomb.
Our guide says we should hold on tight and puff ourselves up like the Incredible Hulk. The more we expand, the less likely we are to fall out. Some of us, though, emulate the Hulk by turning green from the thought of a nauseating ride. Welcome to the Whistler Sliding Centre.
It is too easy to find things wrong with Russia. They can find plenty wrong with the West. Corruption? The Russians would say that's always been the way its done. And can we really say much about inferior construction and poor water supply? Is that something we can criticize when entire populations of Aboriginal people are at this moment living in ATCO trailers in Canada?
Mayors raising the rainbow flag is the latest trendy protest against the much-despised "anti-gay laws" which passed the Russian parliament last summer, criminalizing the "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors." The implied pretext is that the persecution of homosexuals in Russia is the worst thing the Russian government has ever done, and a unique outlier of homophobic behaviour in an otherwise civilized world. Neither is remotely true.
When I think of the Olympics, I think of the comedian Louis C.K. He has a bit about a friend's country bumpkin cousin visiting New York City for the first time. "We pass a homeless guy and she sees him," he says. "I mean we all passed him but she saw him." Come Olympic time, I'm that cousin. I can only see how the Games ignore a country's real problems. Because the most disgusting aspect of the Olympics is a country's attempt to distract viewers from domestic issues worthy of international attention.
A small technical glitch happened when a giant snowflake failed to open to create the third ring on the top row of the five-ring Olympic logo. No biggie. Hey, in Vancouver the cauldron was complicated and Catriona Le May Doan sat there waiting to light it but it never came.