Volume 91, Issue 80

Thursday, February 19, 1998

warm buns


Maple Sugar

Whoosh! The Winter Olympics went faster than an out-of-control luger. It whizzed by quicker than a urine test or a triple sow-cow and double-flip combination (with a half-twist).

So what did Canada have to show for the 1998 Games? Plenty. The golden question is; was it a good, bad or ugly flavour that Nagano left in the mouth of Canada and the world? Time will tell, but until then...

The Good: Every Canadian should be proud of the accomplishments of our Olympians. Despite some optimistic (and now impossible) predictions of winning over 20 medals for Canada, the team is still in position to surpass its all-time high 13 medals – by no means a failure. If anyone tells you Nagano was a disappointment, remind them of the huge steps taken by Canada's curling, bobsledding, women's hockey and speed skating teams which combined brought home three gold, four silver and three bronze medals for their country – then pour a beer on their head.

Also, the world saw bravery and integrity of Canadian athletes like figure skater Elvis Stojko, who fought injury and illness to the bitter end and still pulled off a silver medal. Or how about downhill skier Brian Stemmle, who went from barely living through a ski accident to barely missing a gold medal performance in his final Olympics – definitely nothing to sneeze at.

The Bad: The Olympics wouldn't be Olympics without its share of controversy and unfortunately, this time Canada seemed to bear the brunt of it. Ross Rabagliati's marijuana scandal, which was blown out of proportion by the media, has inevitably tarnished the image of Canadian athletes as well as the sport of snowboarding. Although Rabagliati's supporters say he will not suffer endorsement-wise from the incident and although Canadians supported him throughout the frenzy, it will be difficult for shredders to live down their pot-smoking image.

The Ugly: After watching random footage of various competitions, it was very apparent that, hands down, the winner of the ugliest costumes in Nagano are, yes, the figure skaters. What was with those chains and leather worn by the crazy slicksters in the ice dancing original skate? They were ugly enough to make a Sumo wrestler stop eating. Also, the accusations of biased and predetermined judging procedures by a pack of lutzes in the ice dancing competition was enough to make anybody lose their sushi. If true, the judging may well have cost the Canadian dance team of Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz a medal in the event. At least the cries for help from the sports community will be answered if an inquiry into the issue is conducted – which would certainly be a positive step forward for the sport.

To Contact The Editorial Department: gazed@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998